HAMMOND | Chief Fire Inspector Michael Opinker said he will retire from the Fire Department and run for re-election for 5th District councilman.
Opinker's last day is Dec. 30, 2015 providing he wins re-election as councilman. If he does not win re-election, Opinker said he will stay with the department.
The election for his council seat is in May.
Opinker had to make a decision to remain with the Fire Department or as a council member following the passage of House Enrolled Act 1005 in 2012. Under the law, a person holding a local government job and elected office with that government Jan. 1, 2013, can keep both positions until their elected term expires.
On his final day with the department, Opinker will have put in more than 21 years as a firefighter.
"I enjoyed working on the Fire Department," Opinker said. "Obviously I'm going to miss it. I love what I do. The inspection bureau and being out investigating fires and all that nature.
"It's just one of those things where a law was passed and it's a decision I have to make."
Opinker said there are other things he wants to do as far as politics and wants to keep the 5th District "as strong as it is now."
Opinker, who has been on the council since 2010, is serving his third year as council president, having been elected to the position by fellow council members.
"I enjoy it," he said. "It's a tough job being president. I'm taking the heat. If nobody wants it for next year I'll do it a fourth year."