City Clerk Cheryl Hebert swears in Frank R. Mello Jr. as police commissioner Monday in City Hall. He succeeds Armand Maheux, who retired from the panel after a 22-year run. (Rick Green, Laconia Daily Sun)
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Frank R. Mello Jr. has been a firefighter, a policeman, a U.S. Air Force staff sergeant and a state Transportation Department superintendent. Now he can add police commissioner to the list.
Laconia City Clerk Cheryl Hebert swore him in Monday during a ceremony at City Hall.
Mello, 81, ran unopposed in last week’s election to succeed Commissioner Armand Maheux, who retired after a 22-year run on the panel.
“It’s an honor to serve after Armand,” Mello said.
“I have no idea of changing anything because I think we have one of the best police departments in the state. We have a wonderful chief and we have a lot of guys who are really good.”
Police Chief Matt Canfield attended the swearing in as did Maheux, Mello’s wife of 54 years, Marilyn, and their grown children, Shawn, Heidi and Rae.
Mello was born and raised on Cape Cod.
He joined the Air Force as a senior in high school and served in New York, Wyoming, South Korea and France, working as a teletype mechanic and a trainer.
He served for nine years on the Gilford Fire Department and had stints as a police officer in Plymouth and Massachusetts.
He was with the state Transportation Department for 28 years, and retired as a bridge construction superintendent overseeing temporary bridges.
He has also held leadership positions in the local Elks Lodge chapter.
Mello said Maheux encouraged him to run for police commissioner.
“I’ve always wanted to be a police commissioner,” Mello said. “I told Armand, ‘If I lose, I lose,’ but he said, ‘You’re not going to lose, you’re going to win.’”
He joins Commissioners Tom Tarr and Doug Whittum.
The commission meets on the third Thursday of every month at 3 p.m. It works with the police chief in setting policies for the department and sets wages and benefits for non-union police employees. It also works with the patrol officers’ union in constructing and approving a contract for the unionized employees.