Charlotte Fire Chief Jon Hannan to retire amid recent department controversies

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte Fire Department Chief Jon Hannan is retiring after 38 years with the city and 10 years as chief, amid recent controversies that have cost the department money and reputation.

In a statement released by CFD, Hannan announced his retirement Thursday evening in a letter to the rest of the firefighters in the department, and will be effective August 31.

The full letter Hannah sent to staff read:

“To All Personnel:

It has been a pleasure and honor to be part of this great fire department.  I am continuously amazed by what you can accomplish, every division in this organization is the best at what it does.  I could go on forever but that has never been my way.  I have come to realize that what I can do to move the department forward and up has been accomplished.  It is time for me to pass it on and I will be retiring effective August 31 of this year. 

Continue to do your duty and make a difference wherever you can, always lean forward!
Jon Hannan”

Hannan's last year has been marred with controversies ranging from disputes with former city manager, Ron Carlee, to a $1.5 million settlement reached over Crystal Eschert's unjustified firing.

Carlee recommended the chief be fired back in 2016 over the handling of a personnel file that was leaked after Hannan admitted he was the one who leaked it.

In a deposition back in May, Carlee said he had, "Fundamental concern about [his] ability to trust him as chief of the department.”

Also in a case that ended just this past spring, a jury found the Fire Department retaliated against Crystal Eschert because she went outside the chain of command when she complained about the safety of a new fire department building.

That decision came down from Chief Hannan.

Additionally, accusations that the chief was not properly promoting women and minorities within the dpeartment also emerged after three anonymous letters from fire department employees surfaced.

The anonymous Charlotte Fire employees said there was a, "multitude of issues and problems with the current Battalion Chief promotional process."

Deputy Chief Rich Granger defended the department's hiring practices, saying, “When you have a department of 1,200 and 90 percent of that is white, the vast majority of promotions are going to be white."

During Hannan’s tenure, according to CFD's statement, the department grew to 42 stations with more than 1,200 firefighters. Despite this growth, average response time is less than five minutes for the approximately 120,000 annual incidents. 

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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