SHIRLEY -- Selectmen bid 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.

"Back in 1984, a young man just out of the Marines became a reserve police officer in Shirley," Chairman David Swain said.

"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.

When 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 residents.

"Thanks and good luck to you and the people of Shirley," he said.

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


"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 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.

Earlier in the meeting, Town Administrator Patrice Garvin said Treasurer Kevin Johnston had submitted his resignation, effective July 18. After about 20 years in his current position, he has accepted another 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."

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

The resignation aligns with recent plans to merge the treasurer and tax-collector's positions into one 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, Monday, July 14, four days before Johnston leaves the building.