Bruce Reimels named Tiverton fire chief

Town Administrator Christopher Cotta calls Reimels 'best candidate' for the job

By Kristen Ray
Posted 10/1/20

TIVERTON – The Tiverton Town Council voted unanimously to name Bruce Reimels as the town’s next fire chief Monday night during the council’s regular virtual meeting.

Their …

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Bruce Reimels named Tiverton fire chief

Town Administrator Christopher Cotta calls Reimels 'best candidate' for the job

Posted

TIVERTON – The Tiverton Town Council voted unanimously to name Bruce Reimels as the town’s next fire chief Monday night during the council’s regular virtual meeting.

Their decision comes nearly four months since Mr. Reimels took over as interim fire chief position, after Tiverton’s previous chief, Joseph Mollo, resigned in early June. It was the second time Mr. Reimels had stepped into that role within the last several years, having previously done so starting in late 2019 when then-chief Robert Lloyd was first placed on administrative leave and later resigned. In all, he has nearly 25 years of service with the Tiverton Fire Department having gotten his start in January, 1996.

Those roughly 12 months serving as the acting chief helped Mr. Reimels stand out from the pool of five final applicants vying for the job, interim Town Administrator Christopher Cotta told councilors Monday night.

“He’s demonstrated the ability that he can manage that department, he has the respect of all the staff, and he’s extremely knowledgeable of how the department is supposed to work,” Mr. Cotta said.

Although be believes Mr. Reimels to be the best person for the position, Mr. Cotta said that agreeing upon a contract proved to be “a sticking point.” A concern of Mr. Reimels was that, by accepting the promotion, he would lose the pension benefit protection that he held as a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1703 union.

“We tried to find a workaround to make it amendable for both the town and for Bruce,” Mr. Cotta said.

Ultimately, they were able to come to an agreement, with the benefits outlined in the three-year contract largely mirroring Mr. Reimel’s current contract. Under the promotion, his salary would increase to $84,000 starting out, bumping up another $2,000 following a six-month probationary period. Any additional raises would be based on merit — he’d be eligible for consideration in years two and three.

Town councilors, for their part, were pleased to have Mr. Reimels take over as chief. Vice President Denise deMedeiros said that with him in charge, morale had “stabilized” amongst the firefighters; John Edwards said it is a good thing to bepromoting from within the department.

“I think that creates a very positive culture for us as an organization,” Mr. Edwards said.

While councilor Donna Cook agreed, she suggested that, in the future, there be language outlined in the contracts that would permit a union member who was promoted to a management position the ability to return so long as that happened within one year.

“No one should be penalized because they want to move up, and they shouldn’t be penalized if they decide they don’t like it – which can happen – that they can go back,” she said.

With everyone on board, the council voted 7-0 to name Mr. Reimels as chief. Already tuned in to the night’s meeting, Mr. Reimels thanked the councilors for the opportunity.

“(I’m) looking forward to the next three years,” he said.

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