LEBANON, Maine — The Lebanon Board of Selectmen is today providing an update on a series of actions taken to review and improve the Lebanon Fire and EMS Department.
The operational assessment of the Lebanon Fire & EMS Department being conducted by York County Fire Administrator Roger S. Hooper has been received by the Board of Selectmen. Interim Deputy Fire Chief Frank Maguire has begun a program of protective equipment inspections and rejuvenated the respiratory protection plan along with other items from the report, and the Board of Selectmen is reviewing the assessment to consider implementation of other report recommendations.
The air quality study and engineering assessments of both fire stations are completed and are being reviewed by the Board of Selectmen. The engineer’s report is available on the Town’s website.
The personnel investigation being conducted by the Town’s attorney is in progress and expected to be finalized this week. The Board of Selectmen has ended the administrative leave of former Deputy Chief J.T. Harmon, and he has been returned to duty in a probationary status as a Firefighter in a non-leadership position. Chief Merrill remains on paid administrative leave.
“The Board will consider the information in these assessments before any decisions are made, and we’ll weigh our options and provide proposals to the voters,” said Chuck Russell, Select Board Chair.
“The assessments of the Lebanon Fire & EMS Department are being conducted as swiftly as possible in light of the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic is presenting,” Chief Hooper said. “Deputy Maquire continues to provide steady leadership through this time and Lebanon’s first responders remain ready, willing and able to serve.”
“Correcting items identified in the operational assessment along with preparing and facing the COVID-19 epidemic has been challenging, but we continue to move forward and are ready to serve,” said Deputy Maguire.
In February, following several personnel complaints, the Lebanon Board of Selectmen placed Fire Chief Steve Merrill and Deputy Chief J.T. Harmon on paid administrative leave pending investigation. The Town’s Human Resources Director is coordinating an investigation into those complaints. It is Town policy not to comment on open investigations.
The Lebanon Fire-Rescue Department is a combination per-diem and on-call department, with per-diem first responders working during the daytime hours and call firefighters/medics responding to calls from home during the evenings.