Jackson retires as fire chief

Minneapolis Fire Chief Alex Jackson is retiring after three years on the job, according to a press release from Mayor R.T. Rybak’s office.

Jackson is a 30-year veteran of the Fire Department and the first African American fire chief in Minneapolis. His last day will be Feb. 29.

Rybak announced his will nominate John Fruetel to replace Jackson. Fruetel served 31 years as a Minneapolis firefighter and most recently served as the city’s emergency preparedness training manager.

In the release, Rybak said he was disappointed Jackson made the decision to retire.

Jackson was up for re-appointment this winter, and the City Council has been grilling him for several months over the department’s overtime budget, which was on course to reach $1 million in 2011.

More specifically, Fire Department data showed that firefighters were more likely to call in sick during the summer and on weekends.

Jackson did not immediately return a phone message left for him today.