Charlotte Fire Department Chief Jon Hannan to retire Aug. 31

Charlotte Fire Department Chief Jon Hannan to retire Aug. 31

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte's top fireman, Chief Jon Hannan, is set to retire at the end of August, according to a release sent out by the city of Charlotte Thursday evening.

The release says Hannan announced his retirement Thursday and it will be effective August 31.

"It has been a pleasure and honor to be part of this great fire department," Hannan said in a memo to his staff. "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," he continued. "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!"

Hannan joined the Charlotte Fire Department in 1978 as a dispatcher and was promoted to serve in a variety of roles with increasing responsibility. In 2007, he was named fire chief of the Charlotte Fire Department.

Some members of the Charlotte City Council spoke to WBTV about the chief's announcement Thursday night.

"I will miss him. He has done more for our fire department than people know," said council member Patsy Kinsey.

The department has dealt with some issues in recent years.

The agency lost a big whistleblower lawsuit to former firefighter Crystal Eschert in May. Eschert claimed she was fired for raising safety concerns about the construction of a building. A jury sided with Eschert and she was awarded $1.5 million.

Later that month the NAACP claimed the department had done a poor job hiring and promoting women and minorities.

Kinsey said these issues may have weighed on Hannan.

"It probably did. It probably would wear on anyone and so much of it was unfair," said Kinsey.

Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles said she supports the chief's decision to retire. She noted that leaders like Hannan understand the challenges that come with their jobs.

"The problems that we are having today are like those that he's had to deal with over his entire career," said Lyles.

Whether or not the recent issues led to Hannan's retirement announcement is unclear.

City officials have not said when a replacement for the chief will be named.

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