ROY — Jon Ritchie plans to retire after 12 years serving as fire chief in his hometown.
His last day will be June 15.
Upon his retirement, Ritchie will work for a victims assistance company in the private sector.
Ritchie’s announcement comes as a surprise to many, but he said he feels that after 28 years working for the Roy Fire Department, it’s time to try something new.
“I want to leave when things are good and on my terms,” Ritchie said in a phone interview Thursday. He believes the fire department is in the best possible shape it could be under the current economic circumstances, and that he is leaving things in good hands.
He plans to stay out of the state system for the next year, which is what Utah requires for the state retirement system benefits. He may weigh his options at that time, but he was adamant that he is not retiring from the public sector in order to return to work in the public sector in a year.
Ritchie will miss his job and all the people that he has worked with over the years.
“I am very, very honored to say I have been the chief for the past 12 years,” he said.
Ritchie moved to Roy with his family in 1970, attended city schools and has lived in the city as an adult, raising his four daughters here.
In 1981, he started as a volunteer firefighter in Roy and was hired on permanently in 1984.
“I am still fairly young and have 12 to 14 more years to work,” Ritchie said. He is excited to work in the private sector and will be doing the same type of work, which he loves.
Ritchie’s father, Joe Ritchie, is the mayor of Roy and said it will be very difficult to replace the chief.
“He grew up in the fire department,” Joe Ritchie said.
The city has always been able to count on Jon Ritchie to make the best decisions, and his people skills have been top-notch.
“We don’t want to hold him back, and we hope his new endeavor is as successful as he wants it to be,” Joe Ritchie said.
Roy has a force of approximately 60 firefighters, full and part time. Jon Ritchie is proud that in the past year four of his employees have been hired to larger positions in other cities, which, to him, means he has the best of the best.
During his tenure, the chief has been instrumental in upgrading fire apparatus and enhancing response time, firefighter safety, emergency preparation education and planning and numerous other safety issues.
Ritchie also has served as president of the Utah State Fire Chiefs Association and the Weber County Fire Officers Association. He chaired the Operation Board of Weber Area Dispatch 911 and Emergency Services District. He currently serves on the Weber School District Board and participates in community school councils in the Roy area.
“A search to select the best candidate to serve as the next chief will begin immediately,” City Manager Chris Davis said.
Joe Ritchie said the search will be held within and outside the department.
“I leave Roy city with pride in our department,” Jon Ritchie said. “I have been privileged to serve with the most dedicated and professional firefighters. I deeply respect them. I love Roy city. I have grown up in Roy and have been privileged to serve for almost thirty years with great people. I appreciate the support of the mayor, city council and city manager. I live in Roy city and will continue to be involved in supporting this wonderful community.”