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Mayor appoints new fire chief

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MONDAY, Jan. 14 — A new chief has arrived at the Lansing Fire Department.

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor announced today Michael Mackey will take the reins at the local department in April following the departure of former Fire Chief Randy Talifarro last July. Mackey brings more than 30 years of experience to the department’s top job, serving most recently as interim fire chief in Palm County, Florida.

“It is an honor to have him join the department,” Schor added.

Schor said a “very intense” selection process over the last several months generated only one recommendation. He noted Mackey will become a “great asset” to department. Assistant Fire Chief Mike Tobin, in the meantime, has been tapped to serve as the department’s interim chief through March.

East Lansing and Lansing shared Talifarro as fire chief in both departments until last July when the cities abandoned the collaborative model. Talifarro resigned in Lansing but remains fire chief in East Lansing. David Purchase, of the Norton Shores Fire Department, filled the gap in Lansing but will depart this month.

The shared role was initially designed to lead to additional departmental consolidation, but those plans never materialized. Mackey’s hire effectively spelled the end of any potential joint efforts between Lansing and East Lansing. Schor said department officials — after a “careful review” — decided to hire their own fire chief.

“I’m confident his leadership will be a great asset to Lansing and its residents,” Schor said.

Talifarro’s $139,215 salary was previously split by both cities but has since been entirely absorbed by the city of East Lansing. Officials said Mackey will be paid $124,471 annually, plus benefits. It's unclear how much Tobin will receive to replace Purchase as interim chief over the next few months.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to include Mackey's salary information.

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