Fire chief to take early retirement – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Gate Keeper’s response: Thank you Varnell for your years of service.

Longtime Rocky Mount Fire Chief Mike Varnell handed in his retirement papers Thursday afternoon.

An Edgecombe County native, Varnell became fire chief in 2015 after 26 years with the department. He’s retiring earlier than expected, hanging up his hat in April rather than the end of the year.

“I was waiting on the city manager to make it public,” Varnell said.

The Telegram learned of Varnell’s decision late Thursday from a source within City Hall.

City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney said she is thankful for Varnell’s dedicated and unwavering service to the city.

“He was pivotal in the department’s accreditation and in many other successes,” Small-Toney said. “He should be proud of his role as a true leader of the Rocky Mount Fire Department. He will be missed.” (Read more)

Fire chief announces diversity plan – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Watch Dog response: Great job Pastor Nehemiah Smith goes to show that one man can make a difference. I know been there done that and ignant racist white folk and ignant safe black folk just don’t get it but actions speaks louder than words. Continue to be about not only words but action. One thing this ignant CC Rider got a problem with is you did the damn thing and now the chief is more focused on diversity. Okay he wants to get it right and that is a good thing because a diversity plan should have already been in place. Sorry but trues can’t be ignored, you may not give a damn or be in denial but with consistency this is what one can do. Thank you Chief and Pastor Smith.

The Rocky Mount Fire Department has developed a plan to guide recruitment of a more diverse workforce.

The Diversity Recruitment Strategic Plan serves as the foundation that the department will use to grow its philosophy in support of a diverse and inclusive culture, said Fire Chief Mike Varnell.

“This culture will offer all potential and current employees the opportunity to enter the public safety environment with the necessary tools and perspective to succeed in learning their job and advance to positions of greater responsibility within the department,” Varnell stated in the plan’s executive summary.

A report on how the department plans to support blacks and other under-represented people desiring advancement within the department is forthcoming, Varnell said. (Rocky Mount Telegram)