Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird announced Tuesday that Fire Chief Micheal Despain will retire in March 2020. Despain came to Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR) in July 2016 after a 32-year fire department career in California.
Mayor Gaylor Baird thanked Despain for his work to maintain one of the best cardiac survival rates in the nation, replace outdated fire trucks, implement a fire station relocation plan, and improve response times.
“Chief Despain has a 35-year record of public service, and we have been fortunate to have his leadership at Lincoln Fire and Rescue during a time of growth and change,” Gaylor Baird said. “I appreciate the good relationships he developed with the community, elected officials and the employees of LFR. His hard work, data-driven approach and commitment to excellence have helped to make Lincoln a safer community.”
Despain said he is providing his retirement notice now to allow adequate time for a recruitment process and to help with the transition. His final day at LFR will be March 6, 2020.
“I’ve been extremely honored and blessed to work alongside the men and women of Lincoln Fire and Rescue, and even more blessed to be welcomed into the community by friends, neighbors and colleagues,” said Despain. “However, after 35 years in the fire service. it’s time to transition into the next phase of life while I’m still healthy and LFR is in a good place. I’m grateful to former Mayor Chris Beutler for the opportunity to come to Lincoln and to Mayor Gaylor Baird for her support and leadership since she took office. My family and I intend to stay in Lincoln for the foreseeable future and explore more ways to give back to the community we’ve come to love.”