SALISBURY — Michael Sielicki, one of the finalists vying to become the next police chief in Salisbury, has dropped out of contention and accepted a job as the new police chief in Kensington, N.H.
Kensington, a town of 2,100 about five miles from Salisbury, swore in Sielicki as its new chief on Monday.
Among the three finalists for the Kensington job was Newburyport's Police Marshal Thomas Howard, according to a Kensington selectman. Howard has served as Newburyport's police chief for over a decade and has been on the city's police force since 1976.
Reached last night, Howard declined to comment on the Kensington position.
"All I can tell you is I'm working for Newburyport, and nothing has changed," he said.
The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript reported this week that Sielicki resigned his position as police chief in Rindge, N.H., last Wednesday, citing unfair salary practices as his reason for leaving.
Sielicki was one of three finalists chosen from the 40 candidates who applied to become Salisbury's top law enforcement officer. Along with the other two finalists — Thomas W. Fowler, deputy police chief in Branford, Conn., and Robert M. Eaton Jr., police captain in Smithfield, R.I. — Sielicki was interviewed by Salisburys selectmen at their meeting on April 9.
Sielicki, a Salisbury native, left town in 1979 to join the U.S. Army. He has served his entire 20-plus-year law enforcement career in New Hampshire, starting in 1987 in Colebrook and working his way up through the ranks to take over as chief in 1994. He next served as chief in Hancock, before taking over the helm in Rindge. He previously served as a correctional officer at the Coos County and Hillsborough County houses of correction.
Sielicki told selectmen earlier this month that for the past five years, he and his wife have owned a home in Salisbury, and he'd like to return to his hometown to take over as chief. Sielicki, who had applied as a candidate for the chief's job in Salisbury in 2002, said if chosen, he hoped to be the one to help the Salisbury Police Department regain its credibility after being shaken by scandal for more than a year.
The field of Salisbury candidates now includes Fowler, a 29-year veteran of the Branford, Conn., police department,who began as an officer in 1983 and progressed through the ranks to sergeant and lieutenant positions. In 2007, he was named deputy chief and police administrator of the department. He has a master's degree in public administration and a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice administration from the University of New Haven. He graduated from the FBI's National Academy in Quantico, Va.
Eaton, the other finalist, also has more than 20 years in law enforcement. He began his career with the Smithfield Police Department as a patrol officer in 1990 and rose to become a detective, detective sergeant, shift commander and uniform commander before taking over as captain of administrative services in 2008. Eaton earned a master's degree in public administration from Anna Maria College in Paxton, a Bachelor of Science in justice administration from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island and an associate degree in business administration from the Community College of Rhode Island in Lincoln. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
After the selectmen interviewed the candidates, Town Manager Neil Harrington planned to sit down with each candidate, while an extensive background check on each man was conducted by consultant Charles Hale of Resources Management Associates of Illinois, who coordinated the search for the town. Harrington hoped to make his decision and have a new chief in place before Memorial Day.
Harrington was out of town yesterday and not available for comment.
Reporter Dave Rogers contributed to this report.