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Riley says it's 'the right time' to retire

By KBell
Nov. 18, 2010 at 5:18 a.m.


The timing is right, he said.

After 31 years working in fire and EMS, Victoria Fire Department Fire Chief Vance Riley said he's ready to move on.

"There are opportunities in the public sector, in the private sector, or maybe I'll just spend some time fishing in the bay," he said.

Riley's retirement will be effective Jan. 31.

"I have the blessing to be able to retire a little bit younger than some folks," the 49-year-old said. "I don't have any set plans. I'm just going to see what the Lord has in mind and just take it easy."

Before coming to the city in April 1995, Riley worked as fire marshal in Friendswood, and as fire chief in Clive, Iowa.

When he came to Victoria, he was tasked with combining the city's EMS and fire departments, a task he calls one of the most challenging of his career.

"I would say I'm proud of the way members of the department have consolidated the fire and EMS departments," he said. "It dynamically changed the way we deliver emergency services to the county."

Riley mentioned reducing response time for medical calls, upgrading the department's equipment, creating a hazmat team and improving employee safety among the changes he's seen in the past 14 years.

He mentioned law, history or politics as some avenues into which he could venture next. He said he expects to stick around the area.

"When I came here 15 years ago, I had no idea I'd fall in love with Victoria," he said. "Even if we move off for a few years, I don't see us doing anything, but coming back to here."

Riley said the department will provide quality services to the community, even in his absence.

"Because of strong leadership and because of the values of this department, they can still expect excellence as we transition into another fire chief," he said.

He also credited the community for a successful department.

"During times of disaster, this place rises above any other place I've known because of people's hearts," he said. "It's been an absolute joy and blessing to serve here."

Riley's supervisor, City Manager Charmelle Garrett, declined to comment on Riley's retirement, but her secretary said Garrett is still working on determining who will fill the vacant spot.

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