By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK — The still-uncertain future of the city’s fire department will fall under the new supervision following last month’s unexpected departure of Fire Chief Liam Carroll.
Emergency Manager Brad Coulter said Carroll submitted a letter to city officials announcing a retirement from the department, effective Nov. 25.
“It was his decision, and it was amicable,” Coulter said. “My understanding was that he wanted to look for other opportunities given the financial condition of the city.”
Carroll, who’d been appointed to the post in January 2013 after having served for more than 22 years with the department, reportedly said the announcement was made “with great relief and much happiness.”
Carroll did not respond to a message seeking comment.
“Technically it’s not a retirement, it’s more of a resignation,” Coulter said. “It was unexpected, and he’s still two years away from being eligible for pension, but that’s how he referred to it.”
Coulter said that Fire Marshal Al Dyer will serve as acting chief for an undetermined interim period.
The structure of the fire department may be altered in the not-too-distant future as city officials continue to explore options including forming a fire authority with neighboring departments. Pension funds for city employees to include public safety remain the biggest obstacle between the current budget deficit and ending the state’s emergency management supervision.
Negotiations continue between city managers and fire unions, Coulter said, and he didn’t anticipate any further decisions on fire management until sometime next year.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Coulter said. “We may combine those positions (marshal and chief), or hire another individual. There’s a lot of experienced guys in the department. We’ll be fine in the interim.”
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected].)