Chattanooga's fire chief retires after 29 years here

Chattanooga Fire Department Chief Lamar Flint listens as the city's Deputy COO Brent Goldberg presents the 2014 city budget in this, May 27, 2014, file photo.
photo Chattanooga Fire Department Chief Lamar Flint listens as the city's Deputy COO Brent Goldberg presents the 2014 city budget in this, May 27, 2014, file photo.

Lamar Flint was chief of the Chattanooga Fire Department for only two years. But he took the helm during one of the department's most turbulent periods, as major changes to firefighters' pay and pensions were hashed out in 2013 and 2014.

"He represented the firefighters during a very critical time," said Jack Thompson, president of the Chattanooga Fire Fighters Association. "He's been one of our best chiefs -- we were able to get a lot accomplished during his tenure."

The city is now looking to replace Flint, who officially retired March 31 after 29 years with the department.

"I am grateful for [Flint's] dedication and leadership, which recently included working with my office to find a solution to pay plan issues to ensure our public safety employees are treated professionally, respectfully, and fairly," Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke wrote in an email to employees.

Flint was named chief in June 2013. He had overseen the department's fire inspection division, fire training and tactical services.

Flint could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Thompson said the former chief chose to "hang up his helmet" after deciding the time was right for his family.

An application process to replace Flint began April 1. In the meantime, Executive Deputy Chief Chris Adams has been appointed interim chief.

Thompson said the next chief will need to be "someone who will continue to take care of the firefighters, to have a heart for this department and our citizens."

Contact staff writer Kate Belz at [email protected] or 423-757-6673.