SHIRLEY -- Selectmen bade a final farewell Monday night to Police Chief J. Gregory Massak and presented him with a certificate of appreciation from the town.

It was Massak's last day on the job after nearly 30 years with the department.

"Back in 1984, a young man just out of the Marines became a reserve police officer in Shirley," Chairman David Swain said, launching a brief tribute to the retiring chief.

"John Gregory Massak was appointed a full-time police officer the next year," Swain continued.

He quickly rose through the ranks, to sergeant, then lieutenant and was appointed police chief in 2009, Swain said, noting that Nashoba Publishing honored Massak with its Extraordinary Service Award the same year.

"He oversees a department of eight officers who have served him well," Swain concluded, extending "heartfelt thanks" on behalf of the town for his years of dedication, commitment and support to the community.

Asked if he had any final words, Massak began as he often does when making a presentation to the board. "This shouldn't take too long," he said. This time, it didn't.

On behalf of his family and himself, Massak thanked the board and townspeople. "Thanks and good luck to you and the people of Shirley," he said.

Among those who turned out for the occasion were members of Massak's family and the Shirley Police Department and the chief's secretary, Ann Whiting, also a longtime department employee.


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"It's been a great five years," Whiting said of her time on the job with Massak at the helm. "I wish him the absolute best."

Former Fitchburg Police Chief Robert A. DeMoura will serve as interim police chief while a search committee consisting of active and retired area police chiefs and the town administrator continues to seek a permanent, full-time police chief.

Another leave-taking

Earlier in the meeting, Town Administrator Patrice Garvin announced that Town Treasurer Kevin Johnston had submitted his resignation, effective July 18. After about 20 years in his current position, he has accepted a job in Ayer, she said.

"Our loss is their gain," said Selectman Kendra Dumont. "He was a great asset to the town for a long time."

Swain concurred. "He's done an outstanding job as treasurer and is one of our longest-standing employees," he said.

The resignation aligns with recent plans to merge the treasurer and tax collector's positions into a single, appointed position. The proposed move hinges on legislative approval of a home-rule petition to make the collector an appointed rather than an elected position, which was endorsed at Town Meeting this year.

In the meantime, the vacancy will be filled in-house on an interim basis, Garvin said, with the treasurer's position being posted internally as a temporary job.

Details are still being worked out, Garvin said, and would be finalized by the next meeting on Monday, July 14, just four days before Johnston leaves the building.