By Jack Guerino
ADAMS, Mass. — The Adams Alerts Hose Company has a new leader in John Pansecchi, who was elected as chief engineer during the annual Fire District election on May 9.
Pansecchi, who has been on the Fire Department for 30 years, said taking the helm feels like a natural transition.
"It feels no different, and I have been assistant chief for 15 years so this was the next step in line," the new fire chief said. "If the former chief was ever away I would fill in, so I worked pretty closely with the last two chiefs."
Pansecchi replaced Fire Chief Paul Goyette, who officially turned over the department on May 9. Goyette spent nearly 40 years with the company and had been chief since 2011.
Pansecchi said he plans to run the company like it has been run in the past and continue to train hard.
"We have a great bunch of guys and we will continue to train hard and try to advance," he said. "That won't change."
Pansecchi said his biggest concern and charge is recruitment. He said volunteer fire departments have seen decreasing numbers over the past few years and that problem is finally "rearing its ugly head" in Adams.
"Recruitment and retention is a problem across the country and it is no different here and I want to put a big effort into that," Pansecchi said. "We are probably at the lowest number of members since I have been here."
He added that it is hard to replace veteran members like Goyette, who have years of experience.
"It's tough we lost some good firemen the last couple of years. This is volunteer and other commitments come up," he said. "When you lose members, who have 20 to 30 years' experience, it is a hit. They are trained and experienced and it takes a while to get that back, but we have to look forward."
The annual election drew 287 voters from the Fire District. Timothy Ziemba was elected as first assistant engineer, David Lennon Jr. as second assistant engineer, Edward Capeless as third assistant engineer and Mark Therrien as fourth assistant engineer.
Kathleen Fletcher was re-elected as water district clerk and treasurer and Norman Schutz was elected to the Prudential Committee.