ATKINSON — Police Chief Philip Consentino, 72, announced his retirement last night after 45 years with the department.
In an email to selectmen yesterday evening, Consentino cited past and present health issues as the reason for his decision. He referred to a hospital stay this past weekend.
He also will be stepping down as director of elderly affairs, a role he has served in since he established that department some 20 years ago.
“It has been a great 45 years and I feel confident in retiring at this time due to the great police force I have put together over the past several years,” Consentino wrote to selectmen, “and the terrific guys that work for the Elderly Affairs Department.”
Consentino said his last day will be April 2.
He cited support from many residents and his great pride in the elderly affairs department.
“I think the greatest part of my tenure was developing probably one of the best senior citizen programs in the southern part of the state,” Consentino wrote.
Elderly affairs provides transportation, financial assistance and more to the town’s oldest residents. Previously, Consentino estimated he works 15 to 20 hours a week in that role — without pay.
Those dual roles were not without controversy over the years.
In 2008, after receiving some complaints, the Charitable Trusts Unit of the Attorney General’s Office conducted a three-month inquiry into Consentino’s dual roles of police chief and elderly affairs director.
Detractors complained Consentino wielded too much power and controlled too many accounts, a system muddied by a lack of transparency and accountability.
The state agreed — to some extent. Some changes were made and the state appeared satisfied.
Even last year, there was an effort to move the elderly affairs department out of the police station. But Consentino and his supporters fought back and the effort failed.