MESQUITE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Mesquite Fire Chief Mark Kerby is set to retire on September 30 to begin a new role as the city’s Special Projects Director.

Chief Kerby has been with the city since 1985 and has served as Fire Chief since 2003.

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“After 35 years in the fire service, I feel it is time to move to a different role with the City,” Chief Kerby said in a statement. “We have recently completed several major projects in the Fire Department and I feel that this is a good time for a transition for both the City and myself. It has been a true honor to serve with the men and women of the Mesquite Fire Department. We have grown into one of the most respected fire departments in Texas and that is largely due to the commitment of the members of this department.”

Mark Kerby – Mesquite Fire Chief (credit: City of Mesquite)

Chief Kerby said his new role as Special Projects Director will allow him to use his years of experience and knowledge to help the city complete important construction and community projects that were previously under the direction of outgoing Deputy City Manager Jeff Jones who has been hired as the President/General Manager of The Woodlands.

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The city said in a news release Tuesday, under Chief Kerby’s leadership, Mesquite maintained an Insurance Services Office rating of 1 which is the highest attainable level.

Chief Kerby led the efforts to develop the Citizens Fire Academy and Fire Corps programs. The Mesquite Fire Corps is a volunteer program whose members support the fire department and are active in various community service projects.

“Mark’s service as Fire Chief has been exemplary. He implemented numerous programs focused on fire fighter health and safety, and has always been a strong advocate for his staff. Mesquite is a better and safer place to live due to Mark’s dedication and commitment to the Mesquite Fire Department,” said City Manager Cliff Keheley.

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Keheley said he will begin the hiring process immediately to select Mesquite’s next Fire Chief.