MOORHEAD — Moorhead Fire Chief Rich Duysen said Wednesday, May 26, that he plans to resign from that post on June 1, but remain an employee of the city until the end of the year, when he plans to retire.

Duysen said he had always planned to retire at the end of the year, by which time he will have turned 55, but he declined to say whether his decision to step away from the job of fire chief now was tied to any specific issue or issues.

Instead, he deferred questions to Moorhead City Manager Dan Mahli.

"Rich has been a professional public servant for his entire career. I appreciate his many years of helping build the Moorhead Fire Department into the excellent public safety organization that it is today," Mahli said late Wednesday.

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Though Duysen declined to talk about specifics regarding why he was leaving the job of fire chief, he said the decision was his own.

"It was my choice," he said.

Duysen said after stepping down as chief he plans to continue working for the city as a public safety planner, noting he has been involved in the planning for a possible new joint dispatch center for the metro area.

He said he also wants to continue working on strategic planning for the fire department's Station Three.

"It's kind of those things I didn't have time to do because I was too busy managing people," Duysen said.

He said he will also continue to work for the North Dakota Air National Guard, where he is currently a senior master sergeant but expects to soon be promoted to chief master sergeant.

Duysen began working for the Moorhead Fire Department in 1994 and became interim fire chief in August 2010.

He was named fire chief in 2012.

He said over the years his greatest accomplishments were the relationships he built with city and fire department employees as well as members of the public.

Duysen said when he leaves the chief job Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Wallin will take over as interim fire chief.