Pittsfield finalizes $93,700 deal with part-time police chief

  • Pittsfield police Chief Joe Collins Courtesy of Pittsfield Police Department

Monitor staff
Published: 9/5/2018 4:15:50 PM

Pittsfield’s police chief can drop the “acting” as of Tuesday night.

In a unanimous vote, the town’s select board finalized a contract offered to acting Chief Joe Collins a week before, setting in ink a bit of stability for a department that’s been racked with upheaval in recent months. The vote came three months to the day after Collins started working as interim chief June 4.

“Chief, you are officially the chief,” select board Chairman J.C. Allard told Collins after the vote.

Collins will receive a salary of $75,000 for his 32-hour-a-week role, along with an $18,700 health insurance stipend, bringing the total compensation to $93,700. Collins retired as police chief of Gilmanton at the beginning of 2016 and receives $55,809 in annual pension, according to New Hampshire Retirement Systems records.

When approving the contract Tuesday, the board voted to waive a requirement in the job description that the chief have at least a bachelor’s degree, citing Collins’s “years of equivalent experience.”

Collins took over the department shortly after a series of exits dropped staff to one full-timer and one part-timer in mid-May. Since then, on top of policing, he’s been working to shore up the ranks and help the department’s staffing levels bounce back.

It wasn’t all good news for the department Tuesday, though. Collins told the select board that a potential candidate he’d had a lead on had found other work. Collins later told the Monitor that that recruitment had been in the nascent stages and wasn’t yet a part of department staffing tallies. The department has nine total full-time and part-time workers.

Another potential hire did move forward in the process, but also hit a bit of a snag. After the board went to nonpublic session, much of the discussion revolved around a potential hire, Doug Trottier, who’s currently a lieutenant in neighboring Barnstead and whose hiring is still being negotiated.

Trottier would join as a part-time patrolman working 32 hours per week, Allard said. In a prior meeting, Trottier said his goal is to retire before a deadline for retirees to begin working 32 hours per week while still collecting a pension. The number will soon drop to a maximum of 26 hours when a recently passed law kicks in.

While the parties involved are largely on board with Trottier’s hiring, the details are still being ironed out. Board members were concerned that his current status as lieutenant might mean more pay as a patrolman, necessitating talks with the local police union, according to Allard. Collins said the hiring was “on hold.”

“It wasn’t quite so simple as saying, ‘Hey, Lt. Trottier, come work for us,’ ” Allard said.

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