Boston’s fire chief is retiring after hitting the age cap for the department, giving the city another high-profile position to fill.
Commissioner John “Jack” Dempsey turned 65 this week, the mandatory retirement age under state law, according to the city.
“Commissioner Dempsey has provided steadfast leadership for our city and the Boston Fire Department throughout these extremely challenging years of the pandemic,” Mayor Michelle Wu said in a statement after, according to GBH, spilling the beans about Dempsey’s departure at an event.
“I’m grateful for his guidance and partnership for our new administration, and we thank him for his more than 35 years of service as a firefighter,” Wu continued. “While he will be missed, Commissioner Dempsey has set a strong foundation for the next leader of the Boston Fire Department.”
“The interview process for a new commissioner is ongoing,” the city said in a statement after the radio station broke the news.
Dempsey has been involved in national firefighter safety efforts, sitting on the Fire Service Advisory Council and playing a major role in the development and implementation of the National Fire Protection Association’s Hot Work Safety Certification Program.
Before then-Mayor Martin Walsh appointed him as the city’s top jake two years ago, Dempsey rose up through the department, eventually to chief of operations, which is the highest uniformed firefighter in the department.
Commissioners are political appointees by the mayor. It now falls on Wu to name his replacement. In recent years, the Boston Fire Department has come under some heat for its lack of both racial and gender diversity, and has been the subject of lawsuits alleging sexist and racist work environments.
Dempsey’s departure comes as Wu is in the midst of looking for a police commissioner and a new schools superintendent.
Courtesy / City of BostonOfficial City of Boston portrait of John “Jack” Dempsey, Fire Commissioner and Chief of the Fire Department. (Courtesy / City of Boston)