ATKINSON — The town has a new elderly affairs director.
More than seven months after former police Chief Phil Consentino was fired as the town’s elderly affairs director, Dave Paquette was named recently by selectmen to run the department.
Paquette is a former Budget Committee member and a onetime candidate for selectman.
“(Consentino) put together a wonderful program and I’d hate to see it fall apart,” said Paquette, 62. “I’d like to do my part for the town and grow on what is already in place.”
Consentino was fired “for cause” by selectmen on Feb. 27. Town Administrator Bill Innes served as acting elderly affairs director since then.
Innes said Paquette’s Budget Committee experience was a factor in appointing him.
“The financial background of the department is one of the things we need to get under control,” Innes said. “He has a very good business sense and a good personality that will work well with the elderly affairs drivers and the seniors in town.”
Paquette will be in charge of assisting seniors obtain services and benefits which will improve their quality of life. One of those services is the transportation program, which takes up the majority of the department’s $43,000 budget. The program provides local transportation for seniors who cannot drive themselves to doctor’s appointments and on various errands.
He will be working on a volunteer basis, with no set hours.
“Initially, it will be just whatever amount of hours are required to do the job,” Innes said. “It’ll likely be around two or three hours per day, but it’s not a fixed amount.”
Paquette will not be working in the police station, where the department was previously headquartered.
“We are going to be moving it to the community center,” Innes said. “It will be close to (recreation director Noriko Yoshida-Travers), where a lot of activity for seniors takes place. When (Paquette) is there, it will allow him to interact with seniors more.”