Local Government and Politics, News, Police/Fire

Swampscott extends the contracts of its police and fire chiefs

SWAMPSCOTT — Police Chief Ron Madigan and Fire Chief Kevin Breen received high marks from the Board of Selectmen after their contracts were extended Tuesday night.

Madigan was given a three-year contract extension and Breen extended for a year and a half, given the state requires the fire chief to retire once he turns 65, according to Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald. While Madigan’s current salary is $123,171 and Breen’s is $128,870, the terms and conditions of their contract extensions will be not be finalized for a few more weeks, Fitzgerald said.

“There are 80 years of combined experience between these two men,” said Board of Selectmen chair Peter Spellios.

Both of the chiefs’ contracts had a starting point of July 1, 2018, said Fitzgerald.

Madigan was on the Swampscott force for 38 years, with the last 18 as chief, he said. The extension will keep him in his position through June 30, 2021. He said a lot has changed since he joined the force as a 23-year-old in 1980, but it has been a privilege and an honor to serve in the town he grew up in.

“I have a strong attachment to Swampscott,” said Madigan. “I look forward to continuing to fulfill this role.”

Breen will continue his role as fire chief through Jan. 30, 2020. He was a firefighter for 42 years, serving as chief for the last nine, and even spent a few years as a member of the town’s school committee. He said even though he is retiring next year, he will still be around to do what he can for the Swampscott community.

“So much has changed since I started in 1976,” said Breen. “All we had was tall boots and rubber coats back then. We just hired a new firefighter and it made me reflect back on my first day, he was as wide-eyed as I was.”

Spellios described Breen as having a wealth of knowledge and being incredibly civically involved and he wishes the fire chief did not have to retire. Madigan said working with Breen has been an honor and they have always had such an impeccable work relationship.

Selectman Don Hause called Breen and Madigan “two of Swampscott’s most valued, and oftentimes underappreciated, resources.”

“We feel like they represent a standard in public service,” said Fitzgerald. “They care about people, first and foremost, and that shows in everything they do. When people need to count on them, they are there.”

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