Worcester Fire Chief to retire after 34 years with department

Chief Michael J. Lavoie: "I'm going to miss the job. It has been an honor and it has been extremely humbling to serve as fire chief."


Mike Elfland
Telegram & Gazette

WORCESTER, Mass. — Fire Chief Michael J. Lavoie, who started as a city firefighter in 1987, will retire early next year.

"This is a difficult decision, but I know I'm at the right time and place," Lavoie said in a statement. "I know I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss the job. It has been an honor and it has been extremely humbling to serve as fire chief for the second-largest city in New England."

Fire Chief Michael J. Lavoie at a vaccination center.
Fire Chief Michael J. Lavoie at a vaccination center.

His official retirement date will be Jan. 22, four years after he became head of the Fire Department.

Lavoie's climb up the ranks began in 2001 when he was promoted to lieutenant, before being named a captain in 2008 and a district chief in 2009. He was a deputy chief for three years before taking over as chief in 2017.

The city on Friday announced his planned retirement

" Chief Lavoie has guided the Fire Department through trying times in recent years, including a pandemic and the loss of two firefighters," City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. said. "Through it all, he has demonstrated a fierce dedication to the men and women of the Worcester Fire Department, and to the safety of the residents of Worcester. Firefighting is in his blood, and the city of Worcester is better for his service all these years. I wish him the best in his future endeavors."

Also Friday, the city announced the upcoming retirement of Assistant City Manager Kathleen G. Johnson, a 34-year city employee. She is a former director of human resources for the city, becoming an assistant city manager in 2012. Her last day will be Oct. 1.

In a statement, Augustus said, ""Kathy has been a vital member of my cabinet, wearing many hats during her tenure as assistant city manager. She has helped steer this City through some of its most challenging times, and has been one of my most trusted advisers, someone who always brings a sound approach to dealing with issues large and small."

Replacements for the two longtime employees have not been named.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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