DANVERS — Special Town Meeting Monday stopped to applaud the work of three individuals who are retiring or stepping back from town government.
On Monday, Town Moderator Patricia Fraizer recognized the three people at the start of the meeting: Selectman Diane Langlais, who will not be seeking re-election after seven years on the board; Health and Veterans' Services Director Peter Mirandi, who has since retired; and fire Chief Robert Pyburn, who is retiring in April.
Mirandi's last day on the job was Monday after 29 years and 11 months working for the town, first as the assistant public health director before moving into the role of public health director.
As a parting gift, the town gave the headstrong department head a street sign that read: "Mirandi's Way." Former Town Manager and present Retirement Board Chairman Wayne Marquis was on hand for a gathering held for Mirandi on Monday.
Meanwhile, Pyburn said in an interview his last day will be April 3, after nearly four years as fire chief and 33 years with the fire department.
"They will both sorely be missed," said Town Manager Steve Bartha. "The leadership Bob provided at the department over the last four years has been commendable. The job he did rebuilding that department was tremendous."
Bartha also commended Mirandi's hard work in public health locally, regionally and statewide for the past three decades. Mirandi, a Coast Guard veteran, also worked hard to serve the needs of the town's veterans.
Bartha said the town plans to hire a new public health director, while at the same time separating out from this post the position of veterans services officer.
He said the town was in the process of creating an assessment center for the hiring of a new fire chief.
Bartha said it's expected the deputy fire chief, Robert Amerault, will take the assessment center for the fire chief's promotion, so the town plans to run an assessment center for both chief and deputy chief in case Amerault prevails.
Pyburn was a captain at the time he was named fire chief in 2016. At the same time, Amerault was promoted to deputy chief.
Pyburn's appointment ended months of uncertainty following the 2015 termination of former fire Chief Kevin Farrell. Pyburn took over the department which at the time was being led in the interim by Deputy fire Chief James McPherson Jr., who retired in May 2016.
Pyburn, 63, worked his way up the ranks after being hired when he was 30. He said being fire chief was not his favorite part of his career.
"It's an administrative position. It's a lot different than being out on the line," Pyburn said. Early on in his career, he was told lieutenant was the best position in the department, and he says that was true for him. A lieutenant is in charge of an apparatus and two other firefighters, but a lieutenant is still one of the first firefighters on the scene and continues to work with the tools of the trade and equipment.
Langlais was appointed to the Board of Selectmen in May 2013 to fill out the remainder of former Selectman Mike Powers' term after he resigned. Langlais, an accountant, is a former Town Meeting member who spent about 10 years on the Finance Committee before being picked by selectmen to fill the vacancy.
Langlais, a Danvers native, also did constituent services work on Beacon Hill in the late 1970s and 1980s, working for Rep. Joan Menard. She played an active role in Danvers youth sports, including serving as president of Danvers American Little League, when her now grown son was a young player. She was a member of the board that appointed Bartha town manager in 2014 upon the retirement of former Town Manager Wayne Marquis after 35 years.
After her first year on the board, her term expired, so Langlais ran again in 2014 and won her first full term. She was reelected to her second full term in 2017.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2534, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @TannerSalemNews. Find us at 300 Rosewood Drive, Suite 107, Danvers, Mass.