In a move that came as no surprise given his comments during budget hearings before the City Council earlier this year, Fire Chief Kevin Sullivan, a 30-year veteran of the department, has retired.
Mayor Scott Avedisian announced yesterday that the Board of Public Safety accepted Sullivan’s retirement at its Tuesday night meeting effective Aug. 28.
As Sullivan was due vacation time, he left the job Tuesday. Assistant Chief Edmund Armstrong is now serving as acting chief and Avedisian has asked the board to convene a special session next week so as to act on his choice for the new chief.
The mayor did not disclose the name of his selection, saying the board should learn that from him directly.
During budget deliberations, Sullivan, who has served as chief for five years, made it clear he didn’t expect to be around to see the budget year through. The council cut Sullivan’s budget request, and in particular overtime funding, following a testy exchange between Sullivan and City Council President Bruce Place.
In a release, Avedisian noted that Sullivan presided over the completion of a new fire department headquarters in Apponaug. The $4.9-million construction project was completed on time and within budget. The project also included federal funds for the city’s new Emergency Operations Center.
In addition, Chief Sullivan procured a new $495,000 Marine 4 fireboat through the Urban Area Secure Initiative, dramatically increasing the Department’s ability to respond to marine emergencies.
During Sullivan’s tenure, the Department also received a federal grant for $518,000 to outfit the department with new self contained breathing apparatuses through the Fire Act grant program, and a $105,000 federal grant that assisted in the upgrade and modernization of fire dispatch and fire alarm. In conjunction with this project, Sullivan played a lead role in coordinating a new combined dispatch system with the independent East Greenwich Fire District. This combined dispatch service is on schedule to be operational in the late summer/early fall of this year. Sullivan also was able to secure more than $100,000 annually in federal grants to assist in the operations of the fire department and also replaced three engine companies and three rescues, dedicating a total of $1.4 million to replace aging vehicles and apparatuses.
“I congratulate Kevin on his three decades of dedicated service to the Warwick Fire Department and to the citizens of the City of Warwick. He has led in an able and capable manner and has shown tremendous care and concern for the welfare of the members of the department. Through his leadership, we have advanced the department to become the best-equipped and trained fire department in the state. We are in deep debt for his work and his leadership,” Avedisian said in a statement.
Sullivan could not be reached for comment.
In a statement, he said, “I have enjoyed my years of service to the City of Warwick, and am proud of what we have accomplished. My wife, Dawn, and I look forward to the next chapter of our lives, with something we view as our most important endeavor to date – being grandparents – top on the list.”