Sullivan To Serve as Rye Fire Chief

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Will Fill Post in Interim Capacity

By Karen Dandurant

Hampton Union, Tuesday, June 26, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Interim Fire Chief William H. "Skip" Sullivan
[Courtesy photo not in original article]

RYE -- A former Hampton fire chief will be interim Rye chief, replacing Richard O'Brien.

William H. "Skip" Sullivan was appointed to serve until a permanent fire chief is hired.

O'Brien's last day on the job is Friday. He's leaving to accept the position of fire chief in Goffstown, where he and his family live. Sullivan lives in Hampton with his wife, Charlotte, and has 35 years of experience in fire service. He retired eight years ago from the Hampton Fire Department.

"It seems like it was yesterday," Sullivan said. "I stay pretty active and involved. I am still the secretary and treasurer of the Seacoast Chief Fire Officers."

Sullivan said he knows a lot of the Rye firefighters and thought the position would be a good fit on an interim basis. He said it's too early to say if he would consider applying for the permanent position, but since he is a part of the New Hampshire retirement system, he is limited to working part time.

"I see it as one more chance to contribute to the Seacoast fire service," Sullivan said.

Sullivan has a lot of helpful Seacoast-based experience, said Town Administrator Alan Gould.

"He had a lot of the same issues, maybe larger in Hampton," Gould said. "He has a good working relationship with other chiefs that we have mutual aid agreements with so that will be helpful."

Gould said Sullivan will help with the search process for a new chief. He said hiring will not happen sooner than 90 days and could take four or five months.

"We're contemplating hiring an outside firm for the search, but if we can do it ourselves, it saves the town money," Gould said. He said there is no decision on whether to hire from within the department.

"If there are people qualified inside, they will have the same opportunity as anyone else," Gould said. "The advantage of going outside for the interim is that it eliminates any potential issues that could arise with several candidates of the same rank."

Sullivan's experience includes the positions of chief in Claremont, Hampton and Bedford, Mass. He was Hampton's emergency management director.

"I'm looking forward to keeping the Fire Department and emergency services pointed in the right direction," Sullivan said.

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