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Short-term interim DPW chief resigns.

Byline: Brian Lee

SOUTHBRIDGE - Edward Kelly resigned last week as acting Department of Public Works director after only about two months on the job, officials said.

Attempts on Friday to reach Mr. Kelly were unsuccessful.

His appointment as an interim replacement for longtime DPW Director Hamer D. Clarke was announced at a Dec. 3 meeting by Town Manager Clayton R. Carlisle, who has since been placed on administrative leave pending his March 15 resignation.

At the December meeting, Mr. Carlisle also appointed Doug Scott as a construction monitor for the town's nearly $20 million in construction projects.

Town Councilor Conrad L. Vandal, who is chairman of the council's DPW subcommittee, said he has been more impressed with Mr. Scott's work.

The councilman said he was stunned Mr. Kelly had shown up at a Feb. 2 walk-through of the DPW complex on Guelphwood Road, a project whose approximately $10 million price tag has been scrutinized by the council.

Mr. Vandal said the walk-through was his first time meeting Mr. Kelly, who he said offered no input on the project.

Newly appointed acting Town Manager John F. Healey may be asked to start the process for filling the acting DPW post as well as make headway on appointment of a permanent fire chief.

Mr. Vandal credited civil engineer Maureen E. Ciesla for capably handing duties in the DPW office. Meanwhile, her husband, Richard Ciesla, a captain in the Fire Department, has served as acting fire chief since Oct. 1.

The acting chief confirmed Friday he was interested in the permanent fire chief's job, although the criteria for the position are yet to be spelled out.

"It's been a learning experience," he said Friday, "and I think it's going rather well."

Under acting Chief Ciesla's watch the department has handled two significant fires on Coombs Street and another on North Street.

Meanwhile, it's a strong possibility the stalled process for identifying a permanent successor to Leonard N. Laporte, who retired in September after 22 years as fire chief, will start anew.

Councilor Steven S. Lazo, chairman of the Protection of Persons and Property Subcommittee, said the saga of Mr. Carlisle's departure took the focus off the permanent chief search.

"I do want to start going at it," Mr. Lazo said, adding he was anxious to meet this week about the meeting with Mr. Healey, who was hired as acting town manager Thursday.

Unlike the DPW director post, the fire chief's job description is not set by the town's charter.

"We have to go over and see what we're going to set up for policy, what the criteria is going to be," Mr. Lazo said.

Mr. Lazo said a council majority has already indicated Mr. Healey should be afforded the opportunity to disband a fire chief search committee set up by the departed manager.

Mr. Carlisle on Sept. 25 announced the appointment of an ad hoc committee to assist in formulating the Fire Department's staffing structure, interim management and recruitment.

The confirmed search committee members were Theresa G. Colognesi, personnel director at Incom Inc.; Charlene Richard, personnel director at Harrington Memorial Hospital; Palmer Fire Chief Alan J. Roy; Ware Fire Chief Thomas Coulombe. The appointment of William Pioppi had not been confirmed.

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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Feb 11, 2008
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