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Sterling OKs investigating plan to hire police lieutenant


STERLING — Now that the police chief’s three-year contract has been approved, Sean Gaudette has been given the OK to continue to pursue a plan to establish a lieutenant’s position at the Sterling Police Department.

Members of the Select Board approved Gaudette’s contract on Wednesday, June 8. For fiscal 2023, his pay will be $144,425; for fiscal y2024, the pay will be $148,138; and for fiscal 2025, it will be $151,841.

Gaudette’s swearing in and pinning was Friday, June 3.

While town meeting approved an additional police position a couple of years ago, it was never funded, Gaudette said. If officials come to approval, the position could be funded within the current budget.

“I have been doing the work of lieutenant since January,” Gaudette said, adding that 70% of comparable towns have lieutenants, who work as assistant chiefs. He said he sees the position taking some administrative work away from the sergeants, which would give them more time for patrol. 

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In addition, the new position would allow a current sergeant to advance in the department and, with his former position, would allow for two officers to be promoted to sergeant.

“There have only been a couple of opportunities (for advancement) in about 14 to 21 years,” Gaudette said, based on his recollection. The lieutenant would work with the chief on day shifts, Monday through Friday.

He said the planning is in the beginning stages, but he did not want to do a lot more work on it without the go-ahead on the concept from Select Board members. 

Select Board Chair Maureen Cranson made the motion, which was accepted, to move forward with the concept, which would come back to the board for approval when complete.

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Gaudette also asked for a raise for his administrative assistant, who he said makes less money than a no-experience matron.

Town Administrator Bill Caldwell said the town’s compensation plan, now under review, should be done by the end of the fiscal year (June 30), but then employees will still need to be put on the levels and steps.

Caldwell told the board he was meeting with the consultant doing the study later in the week and was hoping to get a draft of the plan, without the job descriptions, which could be approved later.

Members of the Select Board voted not to allow the police department to carry unused vacation days into the coming fiscal year. The previous year, town employees were allowed to carry over days, but that was not voted for the current year. 

Gaudette said it “looks like (carrying over vacation days) should not have happened.”

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Cranson said officials would have had to approve it for the entire town workforce, which would not have been feasible. 

No carry-over hours, due to COVID, were allowed.

In other business, two members of the public were at the meeting, reading a statement identical to one read by someone at the last board meeting. They asked the Select Board to honor the wishes of voters at the town meeting to ask that the number of members be increased from three to five. 

Cranson said they are looking into the next steps and would include the topic on the next agenda. She also asked that if anyone else came to speak, they bring their own statements, rather than just re-read what has already been presented.

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