Martin Greene Named Bourne's Fire Chief
By: Alex Scofield
Through 30 years as a Bourne firefighter, Martin Greene has continually added to his repertoire. For 20 years, he has had a parallel ascent as a firefighting instructor and expert in hazardous material response.
Town Manager Thomas M. Guerino appointed Lieutenant Greene, a Monument Beach resident, to the position of chief of the Bourne Fire Department on Wednesday, January 12.
“We needed to go through the process as we did,” Mr. Guerino said of the recently completed search to fill the chief’s slot. He said Lt. Greene was one of four strong candidates from within the department considered for the top job.
“When push came to shove,” he said, “Marty was there.”
Mr. Guerino cited the respect Lt. Greene has from his peers at the fire department and throughout the state, as well as his career-long track record of self-betterment. “He’s continually updating his skills; he’s continually staying up to pace on a number of topics,” Mr. Guerino said.
“The decision was not a difficult one for me to make,” Mr. Guerino stated in a memo to the Bourne Board of Selectmen on Wednesday. “Mr. Greene’s long-term tenure with the Department, ongoing professional development through his years of service, expertise in the area of Hazardous Materials management...were all contributing factors in this decision.”
Mr. Greene grew up in South Boston. He moved with his family to Bourne in 1977, following the death of his stepfather.
“My mother packed up and moved us,” Lt. Greene said. “She said, ‘Let’s get out.’ ”
For the first few years he was on Cape Cod, Mr. Greene worked in construction. In 1981, he joined the town’s call fire department.
“It was an interesting profession,” Lt. Greene said. “It became a passion, and I pursued it.”
Already an emergency medical technician as he began with the fire department, Mr. Greene entered the paramedic program at Cape Cod Community College. He was certified as a firefighter/paramedic in 1985, the same year he became a full-time fire dispatcher for Bourne. In 1997, Mr. Greene was promoted to lieutenant, and he was an interim deputy chief for about a year while another deputy was on leave for a non-job related injury.
Throughout his career as a Bourne firefighter, Lt. Greene has doggedly pursued professional development. He is a long-time instructor at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, and about 20 years ago, he was one part of the academy’s first hazardous materials training class. He has focused much of his professional development in this field, and he is now one of the state’s foremost authorities in hazardous materials response. He is the academy’s program manager for hazardous materials and counter-terrorism training, and a member of the Massachusetts Hazardous Materials Response team.
Between the major highways running through Bourne, and a heavily traveled canal bisecting the town, Bourne is an appropriate home for somebody advanced in hazmat response, he said. In an Enterprise article earlier this year, Lt. Greene mentioned that every drop of oil that gets used on Cape Cod has to pass through Bourne.
Due to these factors, Bourne was one of the state’s first fire departments to establish a hazardous response team. The department has a hazmat response truck, one of 18 in Massachusetts, which is part of the Bourne team’s response to hazmat incidents throughout the Cape and Islands, as well as Plymouth, Bristol, and Norfolk counties.
Under the Bourne Town Charter, the selectmen have a 14-day waiting period during which they may veto the town manager’s appointments. As Mr. Guerino did last month when appointing Dennis R. Woodside to the police chief’s position, he requested that selectmen waive the waiting period. The board meets on Tuesday, and Mr. Guerino requested that selectmen make Lt. Greene’s appointment effective the next day on Wednesday, January 19.
“I anticipate the selectmen will support the appointment,” Mr. Guerino said.
“I’m only one member of the board,” Mr. Ford said, “but I don’t see anybody having opposition to Lt. Greene.”
Over the past several years, several controversies involving fire department staff have received considerable media attention. Lt. Greene said that public concern over these controversies was valid, but that they involved just a handful of staff in a department that he describes as highly professional and devoted to the community it serves.
“What we tend to forget amid those legitimate concerns is that there’s a whole lot of good going on, too,” Lt. Greene said. “That’s the reason why I sought this job, because there’s so much good.”
Mr. Ford agrees. “I think Marty is a stand-up individual, and I hope he leads the department in the direction that we want them to go,” Mr. Ford said. “I think he can bring them together…and that he’ll lead that department for quite a few years, and mend all the public relations that were broken by a few.”
Should selectmen waive the waiting period, Lt. Greene’s ascent to the fire chief position will mark the first time in more than four years that the department has been led by a permanent chief. For nearly two years, Daniel L. Doucette has led the department as acting chief.
“I need to thank Dan Doucette,” Mr. Guerino said. “He stepped up at a time that nobody else would, and had some very difficult times during his interim tenure.”
Mr. Guerino, like Mr. Ford, is optimistic that Lt. Greene will begin his tenure in a less turbulent scenario. “I think things are different now than they were three or four years ago,” Mr. Guerino said.
Barring any veto by selectmen, the month of January will have seen two new public safety chiefs named in town. Chief Woodside was sworn in as chief of police on January 5.
“There’s going to be a really good synergy, I think, between the public safety departments,” Mr. Guerino said. “It really does feel good to have a very well respected” person in each position on a permanent basis."
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