Michael Gagnon is the new Derry Fire Chief.
Gagnon was named to the post at the March 24 Town Council meeting after being nominated by Town Administrator Galen Stearns.
Stearns said he received 22 applications for the post after Fire Chief George Klauber retired Jan. 31. “We narrowed it down to our top three and then went through the interview process,” Stearns said. “In the process, we realized we had a candidate who was head and shoulders above the others.”
Gagnon, who was already working as Interim Chief, was approved by the Council, 7-0.
In a short speech after his approval, Gagnon said being Fire Chief was a goal of his 26-year professional journey. “It’s not just about getting a job,” he said.
Gagnon thanked Stearns for nominating him, the Council for approving his appointment, and previous chiefs for their mentoring. “I learned something from each one,” he said.
Gagnon has lived in Derry since 1993. He introduced his wife, Lisa, and sons Dylan, 12, and Sam, 10.
Lisa, to whom he has been married 24 years, has “supported me every step of the way,” he said. “It’s not easy living with a firefighter.”
Gagnon said to his family, “The first thing I do every day and the last thing every night is to thank God for you.”
He also thanked the men and women of the Derry Fire Department for their support. “It’s a difficult time,” he said, referring to the proposed budget cuts (see related story page 1). “But we’ll get through this together.”
And Gagnon showed he had a sense of humor, as he looked out at the standing-room-only crowd that had come to discuss the budget. “Thank you for coming here to witness my confirmation,” he said.
Gagnon’s salary is $108,000 annually.