three foxboro police chiefs (copy)

Former police chief Edward O’Leary submitted his resignation as a selectman this week.

Selectmen this week greeted the New Year by announcing the surprise resignation of board member Edward O’Leary.

Speaking at the start of Tuesday night’s selectman’s meeting, Chairwoman Leah Gibson said she had received word earlier in the day that O’Leary submitted his resignation, effective immediately.

“His family commitments have become too great for him to fulfill the requirements of his position on the board,” Gibson said of the town’s former police chief, who was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

O’Leary had been elected in May 2019 after running unopposed to replace three-term incumbent James DeVellis, who opted against seeking another term. Incumbent Mark Elfman also ran uncontested at that time.

“It’s obviously been a pleasure serving with him,” Gibson said, acknowledging O’Leary’s long-time service to the town, first as police chief and more recently as an elected official. “We certainly understand -- this is a volunteer position and sometimes we have to do what’s right for us personally.”

Efforts to reach O’Leary on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

A 1969 Foxboro High School graduate, O’Leary initially worked as a police officer in Burlington, Vt., from 1973-77, then returned to Foxboro and joined the local police department.

Appointed chief in July 1985 following the death of then-chief John Gaudet, he held the position until retiring in September 2016.

Under the circumstances, Gibson said there are no plans to fill the board vacancy prior to the May 2 annual town election.

In order to qualify for the May 2 ballot, prospective candidates must return nomination papers signed by a minimum of 50 registered voters to the town clerk’s office by March 14 at 5 p.m. Nomination papers, which may be obtained right up until the March 14 deadline, will be available at town hall beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

In addition to O’Leary’s now-vacant seat on the board of selectmen, three-year terms will be expiring on a number of other elected boards including school committee, board of assessors, water & sewer commission, planning board, Boyden Library board of trustees, housing authority and board of health.

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