Rock Island soon will have a new fire department chief.
Assistant Fire Chief Robert Graff was recently selected by city officials as the new chief, pending approval by the Rock Island City Council. The council is scheduled to meet tonight, Jan. 23, and will likely approve Mr. Graff as the new chief.
He replaces former Fire Chief Jeff Yerkey, who retired Friday, Jan. 6.
“I am excited to forward the appointment of Bob Graff as Rock Island’s next fire chief
to the city council for their consideration,” City Manager Todd Thompson said in a news release. “Bob has served the department and the community well over his career and has proven that he has the ability to serve as our next chief. I am confident that Bob will build upon the tradition of excellence that the department and its personnel have demonstrated and be the leader the department needs for the future and its challenges.”
Mr. Graff was selected following a thorough process that involved input from council members and interviews with a selection committee consisting of Mr. Thompson, Police Chief Richard Landi and Human Resources Director Rob Baugous.
Input also was provided by members of the Rock Island Police and Fire Commission and a comprehensive assessment center was conducted by the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association.
Following city ordinance, the fire chief is appointed by the city manager with the approval and consent of a majority of the members of the city council.
Mr. Graff holds a master’s degree in business administration from Western Illinois
University. He was hired by the Rock Island Fire Department in 1997 and promoted to lieutenant in 2005. He became captain of Special Operations in 2007 and battalion chief in 2010. He was appointed assistant fire chief in 2016.
“It is an honor to serve the members of the Rock Island Fire Department, as well as the citizens of Rock Island,” Mr. Graff said. “After 25 years, I am truly blessed to have worked with some of the most dedicated and professional men and women in the fire service. I look forward to continuing the work of my predecessors as well as bringing about new strategies to continue adapting to an ever-changing world.”