Fairfax Co. Fire Chief retires following sexual harassment controversy

(PHOTO: Fairfax Co. Fire)

FAIRFAX CO. – Fairfax County Fire Chief, Richard Bowers, announced his retirement Friday following recent allegations of sexual harassment and bullying within the department.

Chief Bowers announced that he will retire on April 30th and will be pursuing other personal and professional endeavors.

“I want all the men and women of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Service, career, volunteer and civilian staff to know you are outstanding people and I respect each and every one of you. You are hard workers and I am so proud of everyone and of this department,” said Chief Bowers.

Chief Bowers said he is committed to completing a thorough leadership transition between now and his retirement date.

His announcement comes after recent allegations that the department has not handled sexual harassment in the workplace properly.

Steven Mittendorff, husband of former Fairfax firefighter Nicole Mittendorff who died by suicide, responded to Bowers’ announcement.

“I have confidence in Fairfax County’s search for a new Fire Chief to select an individual of both sustaining many of the great programs implemented by Chief Bowers and one who is capable of navigating the current cultural climate and adversities the Department is facing regarding the most recent allegations,” Mittendorff said.