Fire Chief William C. Carrico II will be leaving his Sandwich post next week to become the Medfield fire chief.
Chief Carrico did not respond to a request this week to explain why he wants to leave Sandwich and what he views as his top accomplishments during his four years with the town.
He did, however, discuss those topics with the Medfield Board of Selectmen during a televised meeting earlier this month.
He said that he had met the top challenges in Sandwich—building up staffing levels; ensuring that the firefighters and paramedics have safe, new quarters; and bringing professionalism to the department.
“I am ready to take on the unique challenges of Medfield,” Chief Carrico told the selectmen. He added that he wanted to come to the Medfield area for “personal reasons.”
Sandwich Town Manager George H. (Bud) Dunham said he was saddened by the news that the chief was leaving.
“I knew he was a finalist in Medfield and have been contacted by various people doing reference checks on him over the last few weeks, which led me to believe he was their primary candidate,” Mr. Dunham said in an e-mail on Tuesday, April 24. “It’s a huge loss to the fire department and the town.”
Chief Carrico helped the town secure a $1.2 million federal grant that enabled the East Sandwich fire station to be renovated and fully staffed.
“Staffing this station will reduce response times to East Sandwich and provide proper response times for fire and EMS calls,” Chief Carrico said at the time. “The FEMA grants are extremely competitive; to be awarded a grant of this size is a game-changer for the community.”
The grant came from the US Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Mr. Dunham said at the time that the two-year grant would allow the town to hire firefighter/paramedics, and move ahead with its public safety plan, despite conflicting messages from voters.
At the 2016 Town Meeting, Sandwich residents overwhelmingly approved a $17 million plan to build a public safety complex in South Sandwich, and renovate the East Sandwich station—adding dormitories and other amenities. At that meeting, residents also approved a separate $750,000 allocation to hire eight firefighters/emergency service personnel.
But the $750,000 measure—technically called a Proposition 2 1⁄2 override—also required a majority vote during a regular election three days later. The override failed, narrowly, when voters went to the polls.
In the days before that Town Meeting and election, Mr. Dunham said that if the override failed, the East Sandwich renovations would be scrapped because the town could not afford to staff the improved facilities.
The $1.2 million grant changed all that.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants were created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, frontline firefighters available in their communities, according to the FEMA website.
Chief Carrico also helped negotiate for administrative offices to be added to the $17 million public safety complex now under construction at Cotuit and Quaker Meetinghouse roads. The complex will house a new police headquarters building and a fire substation.
“Receiving the award provides a sense of accomplishment because it is very competitive,” the chief said at the time. “My goal for Sandwich is to create a response structure that increases the safety of the citizens, the safety of the firefighters and, most importantly, decreases response times.”
Chief Carrico told the Medfield selectmen he had similar goals for that town. He also wants to add paramedics and ambulance service to the department.
Medfield Town Administrator Michael Sullivan said on Thursday that Chief Carrico’s salary has not yet been made public because contract details are still being worked out. The previous chief’s annual salary was $136,000, Mr. Sullivan said.
Medfield, southwest of Boston, encompasses about 14.5 square miles. The town, which has a population of about 12,000, has been searching for a new chief since last June, when William Kingsbury announced his retirement after nearly 30 years as chief.
Shortly thereafter, the town appointed retired Hull Fire Chief Robert Hollingshead as interim chief.
“He’s the right man for the job,” Mr. Hollingshead said of Chief Carrico when introducing him to the Medfield selectmen.
Mr. Carrico served as chief of the Halifax and Duxbury fire departments before coming to Sandwich. He believes in beginning cadet programs and talking with high school students to encourage them to consider careers in emergency services.
“I like coming in and seeing what I can do to make things better,” Mr. Carrico told the Medfield selectmen. “I’m looking forward to it.”