Eric Robertson announced his intention to retire as Administrator of the Valley Regional Authority at the end of this year, concluding over 35 years of public service. In his message to employees, Robertson said, “I have been extremely blessed in my career, given the opportunity to lead the formation of the first regional fire authority in the State. I could not be more proud of you, the VRFA team, and the work you have done. I know you will
continue to provide our communities with the highest level of service. I am so thankful to have been here for what will be 12 of the most rewarding years of my career. I am thankful for the many Board Members, past and present, who allowed creativity and risk-taking, which resulted in the VRFA becoming a model department for others to follow. I am grateful for so many things, so thank you for allowing me to serve with you.”
In 2007, after serving in several roles in state and federal government, Robertson was hired as the first Administrator for the VRFA. Robertson’s accomplishments in that role include guiding the process to meld the Auburn and Pacific Fire Departments into a regional fire organization, bringing financial stability and sustainability, negotiating and implementing the annexation plan for the Lea Hill and West Hill additions to Auburn, assembling the district’s first comprehensive facilities assessment, and overseeing capital project planning and construction of $19.8 million in capital improvements. Approved by voters in 2008, the projects included construction of a
new fire station to serve the Lakeland community, a complete remodel of the South Auburn fire station, a new fire station in the newly-annexed Lea Hill neighborhood, and purchase of a ladder truck to meet the needs of the growing region.
Other hallmarks during his tenure as Administrator include improving the delivery of service to the communities, which facilitated the Washington Surveying and Ratings Bureau rating improvement in all three communities. Outstanding financial stewardship by the leadership team prompted a credit rating improvement by Standard & Poors, to an AA-, and allowed for the refinancing of the bond funds – creating a saving of nearly a million dollars over the term of the bonds. The VRFA is known for its strong regulatory compliance, never having received a finding during the annual audits by the Washington State Auditor’s Office or its annual reviews by the Washington Cities Insurance Authority. Robertson holds “the hiring and development of an outstanding leadership team” as the paramount achievement. VRFA Board of Governance Chair Nancy Backus said of Robertson’s departure, “In every decision, Eric Robertson strives to do the right thing – what’s right for our communities and residents, firefighters and professional staff. His ability to build relationships throughout the community has served us all well. He’s a constant presence at events in Auburn, Algona, and Pacific, in support of our non-profits organizations and schools – and he serves the community through the Auburn Noon Lions Club.”
Backus added, “Eric is recognized throughout the state for his keen understanding of organizational leadership, and he has guided the VRFA to more efficient management systems. His work as chairman of the Washington Fire Chiefs Legislative Committee has contributed to safer communities here, and around the state. Our Board of Governance extends our very best wishes to Eric, but we will miss his steady leadership.”
“As you’d expect from Eric Robertson, he has created a strong foundation for the VRFA and has worked with our Board to develop a success plan that supports a smooth transition of leadership. I anticipate we will name a successor before the end of the year,” Backus said.
Eric Robertson began his public service in 1983 with the Washington State Patrol, at the age of 19. He was commissioned as a State Trooper, assigned to Enumclaw, in 1985 and held several positions. In 1994, Robertson was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives, where he served two terms representing the 31 st Legislative District in King & Pierce counties. Robertson was promoted to Captain at the Washington State Patrol in 1998, and led the Office of Government & Media Relations and served as Commander of the Office of Professional Standards. In 2002, Robertson was appointed by President George W. Bush as the United States Marshal for the Western District of Washington, serving as the regional administrator for the Marshals Service. He accepted the position as the first Administrator of the Valley Regional Fire Authority on March 1, 2007, serving as the chief executive of the organization. Robertson received the U.S. Marshals Service Director’s “Leadership beyond the Standard” award in 2005 and the Washington Fire Chiefs President’s Award in 2018, as well as several awards during his legislative service.
This is a press release. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents.