At the Winthrop Town Council meeting on July 20, Interim Town Manager Terence Delehanty announced the retirement of Fire Chief Paul Flanagan, who has been with the department for over four decades.
According to the department website, Chief Flanagan began his tenure with the Winthrop Fire Department in 1978, after completing studies in electrical science and fire science. In 1987, he was promoted to Captain and Operations Officer. He served in that capacity for 21 years before finally becoming Winthrop’s Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Management in 2008.
As fire chief, he also served as Winthrop’s liaison to Boston’s Urban Areas Security Initiative and was active in greater Boston’s emergency preparation community. Additionally, he sat on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), helping to coordinate water and sewer services to over three million residents.
Town Manager Delehanty only had positive things to say about his longtime co-chief, with whom he responded to town emergencies since 2009.
“It’s been an honor and pleasure to work with him as my copartner in public safety,” he said. “We’ve got along extremely well, so I’ll certainly miss him. He stands committed to the community and to assist us in future endeavors, so we’ll tap his abilities adequately.”
Councilor James Letterie reflected on the contributions of not only the chief, but also his family going back generations. His grandfather, father and brother all served in the department.
“It’s remarkable,” he said. “I can’t thank Paul and the family enough for all they have done.”
Councilor Letterie also said he will work hard to fulfill Chief Flanagan’s dream of building a new firehouse.
Precinct 1 Councilor Richard Ferrino thanked the chief for his “unyielding service” and wished him luck in retirement.
“I look forward to seeing you around our community,” he said. “I know you will continue to be active in making Winthrop the best it can be.”
“Serving as Winthrop’s fire chief has been the honor of my lifetime,” said Chief Flanagan in a letter to Town Manager Delehanty. “I leave this office confident that I approached every day as chief with the same values that define my family’s service.”
The Town Manager’s office will be working on the transition of leadership within the Winthrop Fire Department.