KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi announced his retirement Wednesday after more than 30 years of service with the department.
Berardi's last day on the job is Nov. 11, according to a news release from the City of Kansas City.
The news release says in his resignation letter, Berardi expressed great pride in being able to serve as chief and thanked City Manager Troy Schulte, the City Council, KCMO residents, and his staff for their support.
“We have met many challenges these past five years and it has been a great honor to be called 'Chief,'" Berardi said in the news release. “I have had the honor of working alongside some of the best fire and EMS service professionals anywhere and sincerely appreciate your commitment to the labor and management partnership that has done much to fuel our improvement. Organizationally our department is strong and, when called upon, it has never faltered and never will.”
Berardi began his career with KCFD in 1986. Before becoming chief, he served as a deputy chief commanding the Professional Development Bureau, the Medical Bureau and as a field commander in the Operations Bureau. He has also served as KCFD's chief health and safety officer.
Berardi was named interim chief after Chief Richard "Smokey" Dyer retired in 2012. He became chief the following January.
“Chief Berardi has done an outstanding job leading our fire department and we will sorely miss his dedication and commitment to making sure that all our residents receive the best fire and EMS service in the country,” Schulte said in the news release. “I don’t necessarily look forward to trying to fill his shoes, but I believe the groundwork he’s laid for the next chief is solid and I thank him for that.”
There is no plan to select an interim chief at this time as Berardi's November departure date allows Schulte time to look for a replacement, according to Chris Hernandez, the director of the City Communications Office.
Hernandez said Schulte will soon begin the process of selecting a replacement.