Cutler named interim fire chief in Wilton

WILTON – Selectmen confirmed Jim Cutler as interim fire chief on Monday.

They deferred final confirmation until a job description is completed in the next few weeks. The Fire Department current­ly doesn’t have a job descrip­tion for the position.

Cutler has been serving as interim chief since the resig­nation of Ray Dick on Dec. 31. Cutler, who was deputy fire chief, was accompanied by the new deputy chief, Ron Caswell.

Cutler said he has signed up for a course that will lead to certification as a fire inspector, since the fire chief makes in­spections of site plans for the Planning Board.

"I don’t really need it," he said, "but it will give me all the background so I can answer questions."

Selectmen’s Chairman Kermit Williams asked Cutler about the planned formation of a committee to study the town fire, po­lice and ambulance ser­vices.

"You guys are the three legs of the service," Wil­liams said.

Williams mentioned the idea of combining fire and ambulance in one place, but said he didn’t current­ly see it as feasible.

Cutler said he would be happy to work with a committee, and that there were several members of the department who were also interested.

"We want to make sure we are doing things right," Williams said.

The study committee would probably also look at the town’s highway ga­rage.

Selectman Steve Mc­Donough suggested defer­ring the appointment.

"I’m not prepared to vote tonight about chang­ing the interim to per­manent," since the three selectmen hadn’t had a chance to meet together since Dick’s retirement.

"We’re all supportive (of Cutler), but I’d like a formal job description first," McDonough said.

Cutler said he had pro­vided a copy of the New Ipswich policy as a place to start, and that he will meet with Town Adminis­trator Scott Butcher.

The selectmen set four weeks, until Feb. 13, to complete the job descrip­tion.

Cutler was asked if he was OK with the plan.

"It’s not the way I’d do it," he said, "but if that’s the way you want it."

Dick stepped down af­ter 35 years with the Fire Department, including the last 20 as chief.

Dick cited town politics as the main reason, espe­cially his unhappiness at not being consulted when a committee to combine the fire and ambulance departments was pro­posed.

Dick said he wanted to remember all of the good things that had been ac­complished, including the building of the new fire station a few years ago.

A retirement party for Dick is being planned for Friday, March 24, at the Milford VFW, Cutler said.

Dick, 53, was named chief in January 1997, re­placing longtime Chief Rene Houle. He had been with the department for 13 years, serving as depu­ty chief for two.

At the time, Dick had also been a member of the Highway Department for four years.