Mallory picked as Brandon’s new fire chief

BRANDON — There has been a surprise changing of the guard at the Lake Dunmore Hose Company in Brandon, as Eric Mallory was elected Brandon fire chief, replacing longtime Chief Bob Kilpeck.
The vote took place at the fire department’s April 25 bi-annual meeting. Mallory was nominated from the floor and voted in by the majority.
“I’m flattered by it, and I’ll give it my best,” Mallory said.
Mallory, 53, owns Mallory’s Automotive on Forest Dale Road in Brandon. He has been a member of the Brandon Fire Department for 28 years and has been the assistant chief since 1997.
Mallory made a point of saying that there was no ill will toward Kilpeck.
“I want to stress that,” he said. “Bob has done a lot of wonderful things for this town and he has been a great public servant.”
But there is tension, and Kilpeck is very disappointed with the way the election was handled. Kilpeck, 65, has been the Brandon fire chief for the past 22 years and with the department since 1968. In an interview last week, Kilpeck said he was trying to move the department forward and ultimately did not receive the support he was looking for from the membership.
“I could see it coming,” he said. “You can only battle so long, and then it’s just, why waste your time?”
Kilpeck said at issue was the way the chief was chosen. He said in the past, the membership voted for the chief, but that in recent years, the department’s Prudential Board would appoint the chief, who would then choose the assistant chief. The membership would only elect the line officers.
“When I came on, I told the Prudential Committee that they should appoint the chief,” Kilpeck said. “When you have a $180,000 budget, you want to make sure you have someone in there who know what they’re doing. But they wanted to go back to the popularity contest.”
Kilpeck was at helm of the department through the building of the new fire station in 1998 and the purchase of five additional firetrucks.
“They were used, but I got them at a tremendous savings to the taxpayers,” he said.
Kilpeck was a nominee in Fire Chief magazine’s 2005 Fire Chief of the Year Awards in the volunteer category. He is also the Vermont director of the National Volunteer Fire Council and a member of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
He said he will continue to serve those organizations, but is concerned for the future of the Brandon Fire Department.
“We’ll see if anyone’s going to take the time to keep the department moving forward and updated,” he said. “It takes a lot more time than they realize.”
The rest of the Brandon Fire Department election results are as follows:
Brandon Fire Department
Deputy Engineer Roman Wdowiak
Assistant Chief Steve Bilodeau
Line Officers
Captain Roland Euber
First Lieutenant Eric LaRock
Second Lieutenant Scott Trask
Dunmore Hose Company Officers
President Adam Harrison
Vice President Michael Jensen
Secretary/Treasurer Roman Wdowiak

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