Fire chief's resignation, wife's illness linked

Health issue may have had role, officials say

November 15, 2007|By John Fritze and Brent Jones

A day after Baltimore Fire Chief William J. Goodwin Jr. resigned, city officials said his decision may have been due in part to his wife's illness.

Goodwin, who has served as chief since 2002, was the latest of three department-level leaders to leave Mayor Sheila Dixon's administration. Dixon said she would begin a search for a new chief soon.

Goodwin's resignation came after a rocky year at the department - including the death of a cadet who was killed during a training exercise, questions about the use of an off-the-books financial account and, more recently, an investigation into possible cheating on promotional exams.

"The fire chief gave his resignation and was retiring, and he stated some professional and personal reasons," said Dixon, adding that she did not ask for Goodwin's resignation. "It's been a trying year, but I really can't hold Chief Goodwin totally responsible for everything that's taken place."

Details of his wife's illness were unclear, but several city officials suggested it may have played a role in his decision to leave. On Tuesday, a Fire Department spokesman said Goodwin would speak publicly, but a news conference was never scheduled and Goodwin has declined to comment.

Goodwin is expected to stay on until the end of the year.

As the city began the process of hiring a new fire chief, it was wrapping up efforts to find a police chief to replace Leonard D. Hamm, who was asked to resign this summer. A City Council committee yesterday unanimously approved Dixon's nominee, Frederick H. Bealefeld III, for the job.

Bealefeld's nomination is expected to be approved by the full City Council next week. It is not clear what the city will pay Bealefeld because the terms of his contract have not yet been finalized.

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