Vista, CA – The City of Vista is pleased to announce the appointment of Gerard Washington as the next Chief of the Vista Fire Department, effective August 14, 2023. Following interviews that included a community stakeholder group and City leadership and staff, City Manager John Conley selected Washington to lead the Fire Department’s 87 employees. Washington is coming to Vista from Milwaukee, where he served as the Fire Chief of the Menomonee Falls Fire Department.
Washington comes to the City of Vista with 32 years of experience, including working as the Assistant Fire Chief of the Milwaukee Fire Department, where he led diversity and inclusion initiatives for fire cadet and firefighter recruitment, receiving national attention. Washington also led the Fire 20/20 initiative, a program funded by the Department of Homeland Security focusing on building effective service delivery to multicultural communities.
“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Gerard Washington as Fire Chief of the City of Vista. His stellar track record, progressive vision, and unwavering commitment to public safety make him an invaluable addition to our community. As we welcome Chief Washington, we are confident that his leadership will bolster our continuous efforts to provide our residents with the highest levels of public safety. The City of Vista looks forward to a new chapter of excellence and innovation in fire and emergency services under his guidance,” said City Manager John Conley.
“I am deeply honored to accept the position of Fire Chief for the City of Vista, “said Gerard Washington. “This is an amazing opportunity, and I’m excited to serve the community in this new capacity. I want to thank the City Council for their visionary hiring process and the City Manager for entrusting me with this important responsibility. Together, we’ll work to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents.”
Washington served on the board of directors for Diverse and Resilient, a Milwaukee area non-profit organization that does both capacity building and direct service work to address the health disparities experienced by the LGBTQ community in Wisconsin. Washington also served on the St. Coletta Day School board, which aids students ages 9-21 with intellectual disabilities. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association (WSFCA), the Waukesha Fire Chiefs Association (WCFCA), and the liaison between the WCFCA and the Milwaukee County Fire Chiefs Association (MCFCA).
Washington holds a master’s degree in business management and a bachelor’s degree in public administration, with a minor in psychology. He is also a United States War College graduate in Leader Development (National Security and Strategy). Washington is passionate about developing and mentoring future leaders and is an expert in organizational effectiveness within the fire service.
For more information on the Vista Fire Department, please visit cityofvista.com/fire.