Fire Chief James Reed retired this week after serving two years on the job, officials said Wednesday.
Reed, 55, who served in the Newport Beach Fire Department for 35 years before crossing city borders to Costa Mesa, will be replaced by his second in command, Frank Fantino, a 20-year veteran of the department.
According to city officials, Reed retired because a new pension plan that went into effect this year would have adversely affected his benefits package. Reed told the city staff he was thinking of retiring several months ago, Mayor Sandra L. Genis said.
"We will miss him, but he has to do what is right for him," Genis said. "I don't think he came in expecting to leave after two years and that is a real shame. He offered a lot in terms of broadening out the experience in the department."
Reed and Fantino were not available for comment.
Fantino, who served as operations division chief, was second in charge in the department. He takes over during a time of transition, when the department is facing cutbacks and an early retirement program that could prompt many of the veteran firefighters to leave. A new fire station is also set to open later this month.
Fantino, 49, a Huntington Beach resident, joined the department in 1972. He is active in the community and has served on a number of local organizations, including the Orange Coast College Medical Service Advisory Committee and the Rancho Santiago Community College Fire Technology Advisory Board.
He is chairman of the Central-Net Operations Chiefs Committee.
Fantino's appointment became effective Tuesday.