The chairman of the Northern Ireland Fire Service (NIFRS), who is stepping down a year early, admitted last night: “It has been a very tough time.”
Dr Joe McKee steered the organisation through a series of investigations into whistleblower concerns but faced calls from Assemblymen to resign earlier this year.
Three investigations were carried out following allegations about fraud, unapproved bonuses and failures to deal with staff grievances.
Whistleblower Linda Ford won £20,000 compensation after she took a case against the service.
Dr McKee said: “The human cost has been significant, but there are clear signs that a corner has been turned.”
He spent most of his career in education and music and was deputy chair of the Grand Opera House Trust.
He was appointed to the fire service for a four-year term at the start of 2011 and will step aside at the start of next year, the fire service said.
His term coincided with whistleblower allegations against the service.