The City of Shaker Heights announced just before 5 p.m. today that Shaker Heights Fire Chief Kevin Jacobs will retire from his position at the end of March.
The announcment comes in the midst of the city's efforts to consolidate its fire department with that of University Heights.
“Kevin has been an extraordinary leader during extremely challenging economic times,” said Mayor Earl M. Leiken. “Chief Jacobs has dealt with significant reductions in the Fire Department and has managed to assure that the delivery of services to the community remained at the highest level. He has also been invaluable to the fire service consolidation feasibility study begun in 2012."
Leiken added that Jacobs has been very supportive of the city throughout the consolidation process, which has been criticized by both city's fire unions of late.
Jacobs has agreed to be available to the city for the remainder of the consolidation process in a consultant role, and Leiken predicted that the city would be calling on him very soon.
But, he remarked, the process will be slowed by the department's change in leadership.
Jacobs has been chief since 2010 and with the department since 1984.
"I have made every effort to persuade Kevin to stay and put thoughts of retirement behind him," said Leiken. "However, after 28 and a half years and the long days and hours involved in the demanding chief’s position for four years, Kevin, with the strong support of his family, is eager to move on to another phase of his life."
Twenty-six year Shaker Heights Fire veteran Battalion Chief Patrick Sweeney will take over as interim chief until the city fills Jacobs' position.
Sweeney joined Shaker’s Fire Department in March 1987, was promoted to Lieutenant in 1994 and to Battalion Chief in October 2012. He has served as the Director of the Heights Area Special Rescue Team for the cities of Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights, University Heights, Beachwood, South Euclid, and Euclid.
Jacobs was not immediately available for comment.