LANSING, Mich. — Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said he’s making it a priority to hire a permanent fire chief.
Lansing hasn’t had a permanent fire chief since August of 2020, and since then the department has gone through 2 interim chiefs.
“We did have a permanent chief, unfortunately, he didn’t stay for long, a year and the half or so we had to go out and search again,” Schor said.
The last permanent chief, Michael Mackey, was on a one-year contract, but Schor said the new chief will have a multi-year contract. With more job security, Schor hopes the next chief will be able to build morale, equality and inclusion within the department.
“We want to make sure we reflect the community,” Schor said.”So diversity within the department, and make sure there’s equity within the department with each of our firefighters and EMTs. Make sure employees have the equal opportunity to get promotions within the department.”
In 2020, multiple current and former Black employees of the department filed a lawsuit against the city claiming racial discrimination.
“I felt like I was mistreated and wasn’t given the type of brotherhood that they always say that they always say they fire department possesses,” said Administrative fire chief with the Lansing Fire Department David Odom.
Odom is one of the employees involved in the lawsuit and is a 20 year veteran with the department and said the hold up on a permanent chief is out of control.
“How is it, that in 4 months time, we have a brand new police chief, but the fire department has been without a chief for 2 years,” he said. “I don’t want somebody who is just going to say oh I’m willing to do the work,” he said. “I want them to bring in somebody who has already been doing the work. I want them to find somebody who already has a track record of doing the things that we need."
Mayor Schor says they'll close the job posting in a few weeks to see who's applied and then narrow down the pool of candidates.