EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 18, 2014

Consentino begins third stint as selectman

Consentino takes his place as selectman

By Alex Lippa

---- — ATKINSON — At 7:30 last night, Philip Consentino took his seat with his fellow selectmen.

And then it was business as usual.

Last night marked the first selectmen’s meeting since Consentino won a one-year term on the Board of Selectmen last week. Consentino defeated former Selectmen’s Chairman William Friel by just 15 votes.

Consentino was terminated as police chief and elderly affairs director for “cause” in February 2013 by the Board of Selectmen. But he is not working with any of the selectmen who dismissed him. Fred Childs lost his bid for re-election to William Baldwin last year, and Friel lost to Consentino. Todd Barbera died last October from cancer.

At the start of the meeting, Baldwin, who is the board’s new chairman, welcomed Consentino and new fellow Selectman Harold Morse to the board. Then the meeting went on without a hitch, no arguments and few disagreements.

“My goal is to just be a productive board and work as a team,” Baldwin said.

Consentino declined to speak to a reporter following the meeting.

He has previously served nine years on the board, in two separate stints. He also worked in the town police department for 45 years until his dismissal.

Consentino faced questions about his dismissal throughout the campaign, but said all allegations against him are “lies.”

He also headed the Elderly Affairs Department for about 20 years. He has helped seniors throughout the years by providing transportation to medical appointments and more.

But that appeared to be off the table and behind everyone at the table last night.

The selectmen discussed a new reverse 911 system that would be free of charge for the town, and they also discussed where the town should purchase fuel. During his campaign, Consentino was adamantly against the possibility of buying fuel from the state Department of Transportation garage in Kingston. Selectmen agreed they would explore the matter further in the coming weeks.

Town Administrator Bill Innes announced the selectmen’s liaisons for departments and committees. Consentino will have voting rights as an ex-officio member of the Budget Committee, but he will not be the liaison for the two departments for which he previously worked. Morse will be the liaison for elder services, Baldwin for the police department.

After the meeting, both Morse and Baldwin said they were looking forward to working with Consentino.

“He’s a good guy,” Morse said. “I’m ready to start working with him,”

Baldwin, now a lieutenant in the Plaistow Police Department, worked with Consentino when he held the same position in Atkinson.

“No one selectman can make a decision,” Baldwin said. “I just want to make sure we meet the needs and make the right decisions for the townspeople.”

Morse, who served on the Budget Committee for the last six years, said he was all about business.

“I just hope to do a good job for all the voters,” he said. “No agenda, just want to do a good job and have a voice. I don’t have goals or anything like that.”

There were no residents in attendance for the board’s first meeting, which lasted just under 30 minutes.