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December 24, 2013

Ex-Atkinson chief considering selectman bid

ATKINSON — Former police Chief Philip Consentino is considering putting his name back into Atkinson’s political circle. Consentino said he is seriously considering another run for selectman.

“This is something that’s on the top burner for me,” he said. “I’ve done it all in this town and now, in my retirement, I’ve got a lot of time to do this.”

Consentino, 73, retired as police chief after 45 years on Feb. 26. Just one day later, selectmen announced they had dismissed him “for cause.”

“Some of the things I see going on in the selectmen’s office, I just don’t know how they are getting away with,” Consentino said.

There will be two open selectmen’s seats at Town Meeting in March. Selectmen’s Chairman William Friel’s three-year term will be up for grabs. The final year of Todd Barbera’s three-year term will be open as well. Barbera died in October and Fred Thompson is serving in his place until Town Meeting.

Consentino previously served three terms as selectman.

He said his primary reason for running is because the town is trying to make the police chief’s position full time in next year’s budget.

“People have tried to put in petitions to make it a full-time position,” he said. “They were overwhelmingly told to leave it part time and now they want to make it full time. They should follow the process they’ve done before and should put in a warrant article. Just including it in the operating budget is a sneaky way to get it across.”

Voters turned down petitions to change the position to full time in 2000 and 2001.

Atkinson is currently looking for a new full-time police chief after acting Chief Patrick Caggiano announced he would be retiring at the end of the month. Consentino said he would be willing to assist in the search. Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Al Brackett was sworn in Thursday as interim chief.

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