WINSLOW — Town officials for a few weeks have been testing a new structure for the town’s public safety operations and the chairman of the Town Council said it’s exceeding expectations and likely will be permanently adopted.

The plan was to have a six-month trial period for realigning the fire and police departments — instituted with the idea of saving more than $100,000 a year — but Chairman Peter Drapeau said feedback from first-responders, town administrators and residents so far has been positive.

The trial run, which began Jan. 1, combines the administrative duties of the fire and police chiefs under one interim public safety director. Under the new structure, Winslow’s fire and police departments are to remain distinct and autonomous, as day-to-day operations are still run by department heads each with the title of deputy chief.

“I think it’s going as expected, it’s going well,” Drapeau said. “(Leonard Macdaid) has got some good ideas and I think we’re gonna move forward.”

Macdaid, who is the town’s police chief but is now serving as the interim public safety director, said he believes the new approach is going well: He has adapted to his new role in administration and says police and fire employees are on board with the change.

“I’m learning a whole new animal, but it’s been very rewarding,” Macdaid said.


He said emergency personnel and administrators have been meeting regularly and they soon will begin training together to better coordinate emergency response efforts.

There were challenges at first, Macdaid said, as firefighters and police officers initially were unsure of who to report to. Macdaid has since met with employees in both departments and they’re getting used to directing day-to-day operational questions to their deputy chiefs, and big-picture budget or policy concerns to him.

“Anytime you have a change, even if it’s a good change, people have questions,” Macdaid said. “We’re just taking it day by day, and I’m sure we’re going to learn a lot more as time goes on.”

The town has hosted two public meetings on the changes and Macdaid said only one resident appeared, which he said indicates the public isn’t noticing any change to their services. The response times of fire and police have not been affected, he said.

The restructuring came about in November when Winslow fire Chief Ronnie Rodriguez resigned from the department to head up the one in Skowhegan.

Although Drapeau said the plan was motivated by the managerial benefits of having one administrator answerable for both departments, at a previous council meeting and in a memo shared to the town’s website the change was laid out as a cost-saving move.


Officials say they hope to save around $105,000 a year in staff salaries.

Normally there are four administrators overseeing fire and police operations: a fire chief, deputy fire chief, police chief and police lieutenant. There now are three administrators: a deputy fire chief, deputy police chief and the public safety director. So the cost of one salary (plus benefits) is saved under the new arrangement. The town posted a breakdown of those salaries on its website.

The salary for the public safety director would be about $88,200 and the salaries for each deputy chief would be $86,400. Scott Bolduc currently holds the title of interim deputy fire chief and Randy Wing is the interim deputy police chief.

The town is eyeing the construction of a new municipal facility on Halifax Street and officials hope to see additional savings with fire and police sharing space.

Chris Bailey, director of public safety in Hampden, said that town has “likely seen significant savings” by eliminating one administrative position in town government since restructuring in 1994, though he didn’t have specific numbers.

Jason Moffitt, public safety director in Brewer, said having fire and police departments under one roof led to savings by avoiding “duplication” of costs associated with maintaining separate facilities.

Macdaid said he consulted with Bailey, Moffitt and three other communities in Penobscot County on how they merged their departments, and in formulating job descriptions for himself and the deputy chiefs. He said other similarly sized towns in Kennebec County may follow Winslow’s lead if it does, indeed, move to the restructured model full-time.

Editor’s note: This report was updated March 30 to correct the salary figures for the public safety director and the two deputy chiefs.

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