LYNN — The next time you call to report a fire or a medical emergency, a familiar voice might answer the phone.
Former Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy is one of four candidates competing for a fire alarm operator position. The post became available last month when Richard Cutts, 65, retired as fire dispatcher for the Lynn Fire Department after 25 years.
“I am in the top tier for consideration,” Kennedy said. “It’s a good time to start a new career right now. I like a job where I can go in when the shift starts and leave when it ends and I’m done.”
Fire Chief Stephen Archer said Kennedy and the other candidates, Tammi DeMontier, Jarron Randall and Barry Ryan will be interviewed over the next few weeks, and a decision will be made next month. Archer will make a recommendation to Mayor Thomas M. McGee, who has the final say.
The Fire Department previously interviewed five candidatesbut decided to continue the search.
“We are still in the process of interviewing,” Archer said.
He declined further comment.
Kennedy said she has been fascinated by fires since childhood.
“My parents used to have a Bearcat scanner,” she said. “When I got my driver’s license, I would hop in my car and go to fires and watch them. Just to see the power of fire and watch it go from what seems to be manageable to the whole place blowing up, is something.”
If the 55-year-old former mayor joins the department, she’ll earn considerably less than $145,000 she received as mayor. The dispatch job pays $53,000.
While the mayor is eligible to retire now given her more than 26 years as a city employee after having served on the School Committee, City Council and as mayor, she would earn more if she works until she is 62, according to the city’s Retirement Board.
At that point she can collect 80 percent of her mayor’s salary.
“I’m not ready to retire now and leave pension money on the table,” she said.