Pioneer Fire Chief Announces Retirement - PFPD goes 'Chief-less'
SOMERSET - Robert F. Gill, who served as chief of the Pioneer Fire Protection District for the past six years, has announced that he is retiring.
The announcement was made by PFPD Board Chair Craig Cooper-Wyble during a board meeting on August 24. Cooper-Wyble said that the district will not be filling the chief's position with another full- or part-time chief. Instead, the district has entered into a temporary agreement with retired Diamond Springs Fire Chief Todd Cunningham, who will serve as "Consulting Chief."
Day-to-day operations will be handled by the district's captains, Jack Daniels, Dusty LaChapelle, Justin Andrews and George Selig.
"The district will save a lot of money by not filling the fire chief position,” Cooper-Wyble said. The agreement with Chief Cunningham may evolve over time, as both sides grow accustomed to the new arrangement, Cooper-Wyble said.
Cunningham is the son of a police chief and the grandson of a fire chief, and began his career as a volunteer firefighter. Cunningham said that his experience as a chief officer in four agencies, as well as his training as a paramedic and investigator will serve the Pioneer fire district well. "My goal is to just keep us on mission, keep things simple, keep cost contained and keep the community safe," he said.
PFPD board member Ripley Howe said that he enjoyed working with Chief Gill, and said that Gill's gregarious personality and wry humor brought a welcome change to the district. Howe also credited the chief for his work to bring financial stability to the district. "After we passed the Measure F parcel tax, the chief was very active in cutting costs and soliciting grant money,” Howe said.
After starting the 2012-2013 fiscal year with a deficit of nearly $35,000, the fire district begins the new fiscal year financially solvent, Howe said. "Believe me, we're happy to put that deficit behind us," he added.
And what will Bob Gill be doing? "I'm going fishing," Gill said. He and his wife Connie have planned an extended trip to his home state of Louisiana, to spend time with relatives and old friends. "We're going to Bossier City in northern Louisiana, across the river from Shreveport," he said. "I'm going to give myself a little 'R and R.' "
From a co-worker:
I feel compelled to write you and relate that while Chief Gill & I worked together at McClellan AFB Fire Department, he saved my life.
As his supervisor, I have direct knowledge of his skills, compassion for others and integrity. Many times he displayed exceptional skills on the fire ground at structural fires, medical emergencies chemical spills, and aircraft incidents. It is because of these skills I chose him to co-author a fire-fighter/community disaster planning textbook...
I have had the pleasure of knowing Chief Gill for over thirty years and feel that the residents served by Pioneer Fire District are fortunate to have him serve their Community.
McClellan AFB Fire Department (retired)
Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Working Group