After 34 years as a paid employee of the Raytown Fire Protection District, Chief Rick Mawhirter will retire at the end of the year.
Or, as he put it, on his last day on the job, Dec. 31, he will have worked for the district, “34 years, one month and 30 days. But who’s counting?”
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Fire Marshal Matt Mace will serve as interim chief starting Jan. 1.
Since joining the district in 1976 as a volunteer firefighter and joining full time in 1979, Mawhirter has held several positions in the district including dispatcher and assistant chief. He has been chief of the 36-employee district since 1994.
He said he’s stepping away now to be a stay-at-home dad and care for his 21-year-old daughter, who has autism.
“I can do my honey-do list and my long wish list of things to do around the house and still watch her,” he said.
His retirement announcement comes weeks after the city decided not to merge its EMS service with the fire district. Mawhirter has long championed a merger of the two, but he said his retirement is not connected to the city’s decision.
“No, it doesn’t have anything to do with that at all,” he said. “It was time for me to move on.”
Still, he said he is frustrated that the city didn’t merge the departments.
“It looked like a good proposal, and I stand behind it,” he said. “But it got lost in the politics.”
Mawhirter said Mace is the best person to take over as interim chief because of his appetite for work.
“He’s going to be volunteering to do the new interim job and his existing job as fire marshal at the same time for no pay,” he said. “What does that tell you about the guy?”