Apache Junction Fire Chief John Flynn has announced he will retire after two decades of service.
Flynn could not be reached for comment and didn’t return several phone calls. But Dave Montgomery, a spokesman for the Apache Junction Fire Department, said Flynn officially announced his retirement to the district governing board earlier this month.
“He gave the board notice that he plans to retire no later than November, 2007,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery said Flynn, a 20-year veteran fire fighter, led the department through a period of rapid growth. Last year, the fire district handled over 2,000 calls for service with a budget of nearly $16 million.
“The biggest thing he’s done is brought financial stability to the fire district,” Montgomery said.
Before he retires, Flynn plans to lead the fire district through a bond election this fall, when voters will be asked to approve an additional $9.5 million for fire protection.
Fire district officials said the money would allow them to purchase equipment, repair their facilities and expand service.
But critics pointed out the district went through a lot of staff turnover during Flynn’s tenure, and that it would be wasteful to provide any more funding.
Since 2004, the district has suffered from a turnover rate more than three times the national average for firefighters.
Some departing staff members criticized the administration in exit surveys, saying that leadership was inflexible and had fostered a hostile work environment.
Linda Shank, former director of the fire district board, said Flynn was overdue in bowing out of his position, considering the criticism he’s received.
However, Montgomery said Flynn didn’t give any specific reasons for his retirement.
“None that I’m aware of,” he said.