Deputy chief to be named acting fire chief in Yarmouth

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YARMOUTH — Deputy Fire Chief Michael Robitaille is expected to be named acting chief of the Yarmouth Fire-Rescue Department after Chief Byron “Pat” Fairbanks retires in February.

The Town Council is scheduled to confirm Robitaille’s appointment on Jan. 19, at the request of Town Manager Nat Tupper.

Robitaille has served as deputy chief for nearly eight years. He previously worked as deputy chief in Brunswick for seven years and before that as deputy chief of the Lisbon Fire Department. He was also the volunteer chief in Bowdoin from 1995 to 2001.

He is a state-certified fire instructor and paramedic and has training through the Maine State Fire Academy and the National Fire Academy. He received his associate’s degree in fire science and is a member of several fire service professional organizations.

Tupper said he spoke with councilors, reached out to fire chiefs in Freeport and Cumberland, and several members of the Yarmouth Fire-Rescue Department before selecting Robitaille for the appointment.

“Talking with different people in the community, in neighboring towns and in the department has been very helpful,” Tupper said. “They all have valuable information to share.”

Robitaille is expected to serve as acting chief for several months while the department continues to review its needs, Tupper said. He said he and Robitaille will work together on leadership growth, volunteer recruitment and training, and organizational development.

Then, based on the continuing review of the department’s needs and Robitaille’s performance, a decision will be made this summer whether search for a new chief or to make Robitaille’s appointment permanent.

Tupper said the town took the same approach when Police Chief Michael Morrill transitioned into his role in 2002.

“We will drop the ‘acting’ title by Labor Day, and sometime this summer decide who will be the permanent chief,” Tupper said. “We have a policy that states our preference is to promote from within.”  

The council meets Thursday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. in the Log Cabin, 196 Main St.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson

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