Updated July 18
Chilmark Assistant Fire Chief Jeremy Bradshaw came before the board of selectmen Tuesday night to pitch his candidacy for fire chief. Fire Chief David Norton is set to retire at the end of July.
Bradshaw became the sole candidate for the position after Aquinnah Fire Chief Simon Bollin recently withdrew his candidacy. Bradshaw told the board recruitment would be his top priority:
“We are lucky to have very skilled people on our department. Could I use use another eight of them? Yes. That’s our goal.” Bradshaw said facilitating affordable housing opportunities in Chilmark could help with recruitment.
“There’s a sense in the fire department that the board selectmen haven’t been supportive,” selectman Jim Malkin said. “How do you think that should be dealt with?”
“Open dialogue,” Bradshaw said.
Selectman Bill Rossi asked Bradshaw what he thought of regionalizing up-Island fire departments.
Bradshaw described the issue as complex, especially with regard to tracking labor and expenditures, and he pointed out budget constraints could make some arrangements unbalanced. He used Aquinnah as an example, and said given that town’s tighter finances, “we could find ourselves being more of their fire department than them helping us.”
He also said such a unification would require additional paid positions. In a nutshell, he said he thought mutual aid worked better at the moment.
In addition to his own department’s support, Bradshaw said he had the support of most Island chiefs and their departments.
Chilmark Firefighter Association secretary Annie Bradshaw, Assistant Chief Bradshaw’s spouse, told The Times Wednesday one thing her husband didn’t mention the night before is his intention to elevate firefighter Christina Colarusso to lieutenant.
The board said it will make its final decision on a fire chief Friday morning.
An earlier version of this article suggested inaccurately that Chilmark may mint the Island’s first female fire officer. Female fire officers are not new to Martha’s Vineyard.