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The End of a Chief’s Term: Redefining the Mission and Making the Transition Easier for Everyone

When a fire chief leaves office it can be challenging and even problematic for both the former chief, as well as for the organization. Fortunately, there are many things the department can do to extend respect and properly honor the past chief. And, there are also a number of ways the former chief can assimilate into the organization and remain a contributing and valuable member. This 2-hour presentation will discuss this challenging time period and offer suggestions and ideas that can help both the department and the past chief.


One common denominator shared among every fire chief who ever served is that eventually, his or her time in office will come to an end. Some are excited and can’t wait, some are limited by term limits and understand that their time is up, and still others are caught off guard and didn't expect it to end so soon. No matter the reason, they are sure to experience a wide range of emotions as they leave office. Unfortunately, many struggle to redefine their role and find a purpose within the organization and may even leave. How an outgoing chief is treated as well as how the outgoing chief reacts to the end of the term can definitely affect the entire fire/EMS agency. A bad separation can tear an organization in half and may create destructive infighting. But done properly, the former chief can remain a respected, motivated and contributing member who successfully finds new purpose in the organization. This 2-hour presentation discusses model programs to employ and practices to avoid when it is time for the Chief to “move on”.

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