City of Redmond Fire Chief Tim Fuller has announced his plans to retire later this year. He has served as Redmond’s fire chief since 2005 and over the last year, he was also tapped to lead the city’s police department as its interim head until a new police chief was hired. Ron Gibson was confirmed by the City Council as the new Redmond Police chief on April 27.
In a phone interview this afternoon, Fuller said he’s enjoyed every minute of his 39 years in fire service but is eager to “get more involved in philanthropic causes.”
Fuller is a member of the Pike Place Market Foundation board and noted, “We provide social services for seniors, a food bank and free clinic.”
And in St. Paul, Minn, where he began his firefighting career in 1971, “I did a lot of partnerships with the Red Cross,” said Fuller. “I’m looking to possibly get involved again with the American Red Cross — and I’m a birder. I do lots of that in the San Juans and I am learning to fish in these waters, in Puget Sound.”
Fuller said he will take great memories of both Redmond Police and Fire with him.
What he has valued most is “the people and the opportunity to help make change take place,” he explained. “Mostly to help people grow in their careers and also in their personal lives. It’s been rewarding to see folks take on things that were challenging and outside of their comfort zones. Not just police and fire (personnel) but the mayor, his staff and directors.”
As he prepares to move on, Fuller added, “We’ve begun the process, lined up with the mayor’s vision for two urban centers — Downtown and Overlake — that will present some service delivery challenges that will be unique for Fire and EMS (Emergency Medical Services). How do we approach these things? There will be taller buildings, closer together, more people in one area.”
Fuller continued, “We’re looking at things strategically, not making any assumptions now, but we’ll also draw different demographics and learn to work with different cultures.”
His experience leading both Redmond Fire and Police “has provided me with a really unique perspective on public safety,” said Fuller.
“We’re dealing with highly professional, skilled and motivated people on both sides … and also compassionate people. What good hands the City of Redmond is in, with these folks,” he said.
Fuller also remarked, “Mayors in every city should think about cross-pollination between police and fire departments — like an ‘exchange student’ program. It’s really a benefit to create a real, working partnership. These people worked together well on the street but didn’t know each other. Now they train together, they socialize. It makes a very strong unit.”
When Mayor John Marchione first asked him to serve as interim police chief, Fuller admitted, “I thought, ‘Good Lord!’ but I got a great deal of support from him and we’ve since talked about the real benefits. The next chief has a great opportunity … and this city is pretty well-positioned, department-wide with public safety and public works personnel working together.”
Fuller has agreed to stay on and assist with recruitment for his replacement.
In a press release, Redmond’s Human Resources Director, Kerry Sievers commented, “It will not be easy to replace Tim. The recruitment process has begun and we will work closely with Fire administration and other stakeholders throughout the selection process.”
Marchione stated in a press release, “Throughout his tenure at Redmond, Tim demonstrated his ability to manage positive change and build organizational capacity for leadership. He was instrumental in shaping our process for a new police chief and I’m glad to hear he will also assist as we begin the very difficult task of replacing him.”
The national search for a new fire chief will take most of the summer with interviews scheduled for early fall. The city hopes to have a new fire chief in place by the end of 2010.