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Burkott to leave Fire Department next year

July 18, 2014 | By G. Michael Dobbs

Long-time Fire Chief Stephen Burkott announced his plans to retire at a press conference with Mayor Richard Kos.
Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

CHICOPEE – Fire Chief Stephen Burkott has announced that after 41 years with the Chicopee Fire Department, 12 of which as chief, he will retire next year when the process to select his replacement is completed.
Burkott and Mayor Richard Kos met with the press on July 14 to make the announcement.
“I’ve enjoyed my career tremendously, “Burkott said. “It’s the best job in the world. I look forward to the next chapter of my life, whatever that may be.”
Because Civil Service covers the position, Kos explained that at least three candidates must take the test. He said there are five deputy chiefs and if an insufficient number is signed up for the test, then it will be opened up to the captains in the department.
An assessment program will then follow the test. Kos will have the final say on the selection of the new chief. He noted that 12 years ago he had selected Burkott during his first administration.
Kos said he had “mixed emotions” about Burkott’s decision.
Burkott said his retirement date isn’t “written in stone” and he will stay until a new chief is on board.
He said that he has been thinking about retirement since January and had spoken with his family about his decision.
“I’m sad that I’m leaving, but it seems like the right thing to do right now,” Burkott added.
When asked what his most significant accomplishment was as chief, Burkott hesitated and said that would be for others to decide. Later he did admit that increasing ambulance service to the city was something of which he was proud.
The Chicopee Fire Department is the second largest in western Massachusetts with 143 personnel.

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