By Hiroko Sato

MediaNews

GROTON -- Selectmen appointed Steele McCurdy as the town's new fire chief on Friday after Robert Hart, whom selectmen originally chose for the position, withdrew.

McCurdy, deputy fire chief for Littleton, was one of the two finalists for Groton's chief position. The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to offer the job to Hart, deputy chief for Acton, at their Monday night meeting, following a split straw vote with three board members favoring Hart and two others supporting McCurdy.

Selectmen Chairman Joshua Degen said the town began negotiating the contract with Hart on Tuesday. Then, on Thursday, Hart informed the board that he was not accepting the position, citing personal reasons, Degen said. Hart explained that money was not the issue, Degen added.

The board held an emergency meeting on Friday morning and agreed to offer the position to McCurdy. McCurdy accepted the appointment pending a successful contractual negotiation and background check, Degen said.