KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kansas City, Kansas will be in search for a new fire department chief after April.
The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/KCK confirmed with FOX4 that KCK Fire Chief Michael Callahan submitted his letter of resignation Thursday that will take effect on April 28.
Callahan was sworn in as KCK fire chief on Aug. 27, 2018. He previously spent 40 years working with the Chicago Fire Department.
The UG said it reached out to Mayor Tyrone Garner’s office, who had no comment regarding the matter.
Callahan was criticized by Local 64, the union that represents members of KCKFD back in 2020 for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Firefighters that tested positive were still paid during quarantine but those that tested negative but were exposed had to quarantine without pay and use sick time.
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The union sent a letter to the UG in January of 2021, according to The Kansas City Star, calling for the immediate removal of Callahan, saying he used “bullying” tactics to enforce his orders and that the department mismanaged its response to the pandemic.
A statement was released by the union Friday night saying “Today, as we learn of Michael Callahans resignation from his position within the Kansas City, KS Fire Department, we look forward to continuing the work of every day firefighters responding and assisting in the needs of our citizens when called upon. Local 64 has been engaged with the cities leaders voicing our concerns and trying to work with them collectively to include trying to build a positive labor/management relationship to better the treatment of all our employees and the responses we provide to our citizens. As we await the conclusion of an outside audit of our fire department, we stand ready to assist in the needs of our citizens.”
The UG said since this is a personnel matter, it is unable to access the resignation letter to send to FOX4.
Wyandotte County Administrator David Johnston said he and his staff will begin the search shortly to find a replacement.