Oak Bluffs fire chief to step down in June

— File photo by Mae Deary

Oak Bluffs fire chief Peter Forend has told the town selectmen that he does not want to be reappointed to the chief’s position when his term ends on June 30.

Selectmen have already begun the process of choosing an acting chief, and will discuss the issue at their regular meeting tonight.

Mr. Forend served as chief for six years. He said leaving the position is bittersweet, but when he took the job, it was with the understanding that it would become a full-time position.

“It was supposed to turn into a full-time job; it is a full-time job,” Mr. Forend said in a phone conversation today. “There’s been no sign that that’s going to happen. Working a full-time job and trying to be a part-time chief doesn’t work for me any more.”

Mr. Forend said previously that he spends a minimum of 25 hours per week working for the fire department. The annual pay for the appointed position is $12,000, plus stipends.

He works full time as a truck driver for Bruno’s Rolloff, Inc., a trash hauling company based at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport business park.

“I’m not able to give the [full-time] job one hundred percent, and that pays the bills,” Mr. Forend said.

Mr. Forend is active in the Army National Guard and served as fire chief for his unit during a tour of duty in Kuwait in 2005 and 2006.

He has not submitted a formal letter of resignation. He has told the selectmen he is willing to continue in some role with the fire department, if the selectmen and the next fire chief agree.

At their meeting Tuesday evening, selectmen agreed to post an advertisement seeking an acting chief, who would begin duties July 1.