The City of Garden City announced Friday that Battalion Chief Rick Collins will act as interim fire chief for the Garden City Fire Department after current Chief Allen Shelton retires at the end of the month.

Collins, who has been with the department since 1989, will step into his new role on July 2, while continuing to carry out his duties as battalion chief, according to a news release.

“Battalion Chief Rick Collins is a respected fire officer who has served the department and community for 30 years. I have the utmost confidence in the entire department and the leadership abilities of all three Battalion Chiefs,” said Garden City City Manager Matt Allen in the release. “As we work to identify the next Garden City Fire Chief, it’s a comfort knowing that the department is in Rick’s very capable hands.“

Collins said in the statement that the appointment is an honor, and that, falling in line with a “strong operational structure” developed by Shelton, Collins and his fellow battalion chiefs will continue to lead their officer teams in daily duties.

“The Interim Fire Chief role will require a few more meetings and communicating with the City Manager and administrative departments, but the bulk of the daily operational leadership continues to be at the Battalion Chief level,” Collins said. “I think that was Chief Shelton’s vision for this department and he’s positioned it to operate well during this interim period.”

The City of Garden City’s search for a new permanent fire chief is underway and city staff will begin reviewing resumes in the last week of July. The process will use social media, professional associations and other methods to conduct a nationwide search, human resource director Allie Medina said.

“There are many avenues available for recruitment and the City is committed to connecting with qualified candidates to take part in the Assessment Center,” Medina said in a statement.

The position profile and job posting are available now on the city’s website, www.garden-city.org.

The City of Garden City will celebrate Shelton’s 44 years of service to the fire department at a public retirement reception from 10:30 a.m. to noon Friday at the Central Fire Station Bay, 302 N. 9th St.