Rockland - For now, Rockland has a fire chief.
After sifting through several applications to fill the interim position, Rockland selectmen invited back three qualified candidates who have served as fire chiefs in other towns.
Finally, Robert A. DiPoli, former chief in Needham, was selected to serve as chief for the next nine months and assist in leading the department, and finding a permanent chief. He begins his stint Aug. 3.
“I would love the challenge to lead your department,” DiPoli told selectmen Monday night.
DiPoli, a Medfield resident, was in firefighting for 35 years. He was promoted in his fourth year on the job, and rose through the ranks until he became chief, a position he held for 15 years.
“That’s very impressive,” Selectman Lawrence Chaffee noted of DiPoli’s quick rise through the ranks.
DiPoli retired from his position as Needham Fire Chief four years ago.
While serving as the Needham chief, DiPoli said he helped secure grants for the town. He also worked with a significantly higher budget at $5.9 million, due to the affluent nature of the town, DiPoli added.
After his 15 years of serving as chief, DiPoli said he left the town on good terms, and Needham would be willing to hire him back if he chose to accept the position. However, DiPoli said he is only willing to take the position in Rockland because it is not permanent.
The Rockland board listened to DiPoli and two former chiefs, Dennis Dowd of Winchendon, Mass., and Robert Sullivan from Milton, and motioned to accept DiPoli’s application with little discussion.
DiPoli received a fire science degree at Mass Bay Community College. He is a graduate of the Chief Fire Officer program at the UMass Donahue Institute.
He is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer program.
Acting fire chief William Ferguson originally expressed interest in becoming the full time chief in Rockland, however he later decided he wanted to be relieved from the position by Aug. 3.
Ferguson took over for Chief Michael Sammon, who was the chief from 2003 until he retired in November.
Ferguson was appointed to the interim chief position in January, and had submitted his application to keep the role on a full-time basis.
Although Ferguson refused to comment on the reasoning at that time, Town Administrator Alan Chiocca said there may have been differences of opinion about the fire chief’s role.