The City of Rock Island has selected Robert Graff as fire chief, pending approval by City Council members during the Monday, Jan. 23, regular meeting, according to a news release.

Graff has served as assistant fire chief since 2016. He replaces former Fire Chief Jeff Yerkey, who retired Jan. 6, 2023.

Robert Graff (photo courtesy of the City of Rock Island)

“I am excited to forward the appointment of Bob Graff as Rock Islands’ next fire chief to the City Council for their consideration,” said City Manager Todd Thompson. “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.”

Graff was selected thorough a process that involved input from City Council members and interviews with a selection committee consisting of City Manager Todd Thompson, Police Chief Richard Landi and Human Resources Director Rob Baugous.

Input also was provided by members of the Police and Fire Commission and a comprehensive assessment center was conducted by the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association.

In accordance with 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.

Graff holds a master of business administration degree 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,” 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.”