Nantucket Fire Union: Cranson Takes Fire Chief Job

Jason Graziadei •

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Nantucket Fire Union President Jeff Allen told the Current on Monday that Michael Cranson has accepted the town's offer to become Nantucket's new fire chief.

Allen said Cranson, the former fire chief of the Portsmouth, Rhode Island Fire Department, will start Oct. 1.

Town manager Libby Gibson, however, would not confirm that Cranson has been offered or accepted the position.

"The hiring process is not complete," Gibson said. "When it is we'll report out on it."

The only other finalist for the fire chief job, Chris Christopoulos, dropped out last week due to health issues, Gibson said.

Cranson's reported hiring comes after weeks of acrimony following the town search committee's decision to eliminate current Nantucket Deputy Fire Chief Sean Mitchell from the group of finalists for the job.

Since then, the fire union - Local 2509 - and members of the island community have lobbied heavily for Mitchell to be named chief. A citizen's petition has been signed by at least 832 people, while the union has gone as far as issuing a "stand down" letter urging outside candidates not to apply.

Asked about the situation during his visit to the island last week, Cranson told the Current: “All I know, and what I can tell you, is that I’m prepared to step in and calm things down and provide some stability for the department. And level the playing field.”

Cranson, 50, has been in the fire service since he was a teenager, and retired as the fire chief in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in May 2018 after 27 years with the department.

Meanwhile, the town is also moving ahead with plans to hire an interim fire chief to bridge the gap between current fire chief Steve Murphy's retirement at the end of August and the start date of his replacement.

During tonight's Select Board meeting, members will be asked to approve a contract with Martin Greene, the former Bourne fire chief who recently served as interim chief for Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard.

The contract with Greene would run from Aug. 26 to Oct. 15, and pay him $600 per day, plus expenses.

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