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Keenan named Police Chief, McGonagle honored for Timberman heroics

October 05, 2011
Gilford's selectmen officially recognized former Deputy Police Chief Kevin Keenan during their meeting Wednesday, Sept. 28 as the new police chief, chosen to replace John Markland effective Saturday, Oct. 1.

Markland's resignation on Sept. 30 leaves the department with 16 officers and no deputy chief as Keenan steps up to the chief's position.

According to Markland, normally, when a chief retires, officers move up in rank and the department gets a new officer to fill in the ranks. The current budget proposal, however, does not allow for a 17th officer.

Markland said that, according to a 2004 Municipal Resources study, the Gilford Police Department required 17 officers to sufficiently service the community. Since then, calls for service have increased, which, according to Markland, could justify the hire of an additional officer.

In a cost-saving measure, town administration proposed a budget cutting personnel in the Department of Public Works, Department of Planning and Land-use, and the Fire and Police Departments.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn admitted that this will affect services, but the cuts are a result of the municipal economic restraints.

In other business, Chairman John O'Brien presented Firefighter/EMT Pat McGonagle with a Certificate of Meritorious Duty for his heroic action during the Timberman Triathlon.

While racing, McGonagle witnessed a fellow athlete suffer a cardiac arrest a few hundred feet ahead. McGonagle jumped off his bicycle and administered CPR until an ambulance arrived on scene.

Selectmen also granted a special event permit renewal for the Timberman Triathlon. According to Keith Jordan, Timberman coordinator, the event has run for 11 years, and usually pulls in about $5 million to the area each year. He reported that they raised about $100,000 for NH charities during their last event, with an additional $75,000 for the Make a Wish foundation.

According to Vice Chairman Gus Benavides, the annual triathlon is a blessing to all Lakes Region non-profit organizations. He thought if people saw some of the positives the event brings to the community, residents would be more accepting of the traffic inconveniences.

Dunn gave selectmen an update on the Route 3 and 11 Bypass bridge. According to Dunn, the NH Department of Transpiration officials estimated the project to cost about $1.1 million, but the lowest bid for the job came in at about $2 million. Dunn said this will push back the project from 2012 to 2013.

According to Dunn, funding for the job is currently in a state of uncertainty. Originally, crews would compete the construction over 60-hour work-weeks, with 80 percent of funding from federal funds and 20 percent from state funds. To save on overtime costs, the work-week may be cut back; however, Dunn explained this may also cut back on federal funding for the project.

Dunn also presented selectmen with the 2012 budget recommendation for about $11 million. Dunn said the budget was down about 1.5 percent from 2011. Selectmen approved the budget recommendation with little discussion, and sent the recommendation off to the budget committee for further scrutiny.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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