New chief to begin at end of month

John Richmeier
Mike Stackhouse

The man who has been hired as the new chief of Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 hopes to start in the position at the end of the month.

Mike Stackhouse said he plans to start Nov. 30.

“I just want to be an effective and good leader for the department,” he said.

Fire District No. 1 provides fire department services to the city of Lansing and Delaware and High Prairie townships.

Fire District No. 1’s former chief, Todd Farley, resigned in May to take another job. Joe Gates has been serving as the interim chief.

Stackhouse was hired from a search that included candidates from across the country, according to Rob Gaslin, chairman of Fire District No. 1’s Board of Trustees.

Stackhouse currently works as the fire marshal for the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

According to a website for the Savannah River Site, SRS is a 310 square-mile industrial complex owned by the U.S. Department of Energy.

“I’ve been in the fire service for 33 years,” Stackhouse said.

He began his involvement in the fire service as a volunteer at the age of 16.

Stackhouse said he held various ranks as a volunteer firefighter including chief.

In addition to his volunteer service, he has worked in positions with the Adjutant General’s Office in Indiana and the Louisville, Kentucky, Fire Department.

He began serving in his current position at the Savannah River Site in 2018.

Originally from Indiana, Stackhouse said he was looking for a job in the Midwest when he applied for chief’s position for Fire District No. 1.

Stackhouse will be coming to Fire District No. 1 at a time when the Delaware and High Prairie townships and the county government are embroiled in a dispute with the city of Lansing regarding the fire district’s future.

Lansing city officials argue the assets of the fire district should be split up among the parties upon the termination of a 2003 interlocal agreement. Lansing officials have expressed a desire to start a city fire department.

Last year, Leavenworth County District Judge David King ruled the interlocal agreement can be terminated. But the judge ruled an “interlocal agreement cannot be used to require the apportionment of all of the property of a fire district on a party’s termination of the interlocal agreement.”

King also ruled that a city seeking to withdraw from a fire district must do so in accordance with a process that has been established by state law.

The city of Lansing is appealing this decision.

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