Kyle Fire Chief announces resignation after 30 years
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Less than a year after a failed move to oust him, embattled Kyle Fire Chief Glenn Whitaker is calling it quits.
Like the city itself, the Kyle Fire Department has seen a lot of changes over the years.
"It has changed from a tiny little station with a total volunteer department to a paid 20-person department," Beth Smith, president of the Emergency Services District #5 board, said.
Glenn Whitaker was the department's first full-time, paid chief
At the Emergency Services District #5 board meeting Monday, Whitaker announced his retirement.
“I think very highly of Chief Whitaker and I'm very saddened by his resignation," Smith said.
Last year the board held a vote to terminate Whitaker, which failed. Whitaker said he hoped things would improve since then, but that they've only changed.
"After probably hundreds of hours of thought on my part,” Chief Whitaker said in his resignation letter, “I have finally decided that it is past time to leave the Kyle Fire Department."
Chief Whitaker said the decision to resign was a very difficult one, but he said he's proud of his more than 30 years of service. He said he knows there are people alive in this community because of him and there are buildings standing because of the work he and the department have done.
"He's been an excellent Chief and a good leader to the guys. He's taught them some very high, very high moral character standards to live by," Smith said.
Whitaker said he felt a bit undermined by the board and the new way it oversees the department's finances.
That board is now tasked with finding his replacement amid rapid growth.
"How to appoint an interim chief, options we have for appointing an interim chief and then moving forward with the search for a new chief," Smith said.
For the next two weeks, Whitaker will continue to function as Chief. After that he says he'll be able to sleep without worrying being called out on a fire.
Smith says the fire department will continue to provide excellent service as it transitions to a new chief.
"I have absolute confidence in this fire department and the firefighters in there,” she said. “It's an excellent group of people. You couldn't work with anyone better."