Updated: 12/30/2013 7:10 PM
Created: 12/30/2013 9:03 AM WNYT.com
By: Kumi Tucker
ALBANY -- Firefighters lined up in Albany's South End Firehouse to walk out the man who has been their chief for the last seven years.
Chief Robert Forezzi became a firefighter in March of 1974. He was sworn in as chief in October of 2006 in the rotunda of Albany City Hall.
"I had some signature programs that I'm very proud of. One of my priorities was safety and training. I tried to change the culture. Firemen get hurt nationally, throughout the world, they get hurt-- unnecessary risks. I tried to change that culture, not to take unnecessary risks," said Chief Forezzi.
"I'm retiring because it's time. And November it started settling in. It's time. There's a new mayor, a new council, and they're going to have to be educated and it's going to kind of like be starting over again. And I'm not starting over again. My decision is made and I'm going to move on and it's time for somebody fresh, young, to take over the leadership of the fire department."
Forezzi choked up when talking to the crowd about the trust placed in him by Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings.
"Bob's been a great chief," said Mayor Jennings. "He was a great firefighter and everything he did was professional and the men and women of the department really respected him and I think he made my tenure as the mayor easier because when you have an effective chief, it helps solve a lot of problems."
Chief Forezzi gave one final salute before getting into a fire truck.
The next fire chief will be chosen by incoming mayor Kathy Sheehan, who was also at the ceremony.
"Has to be a leader and have vision. To be any leader in any type of organization, you need vision. You need to look ahead and plan ahead and start new programs. You can't work in the past, you have to go to the future," said Chief Forezzi about his successor.
"I'd like to be remembered as a serious fire chief who prioritized training and safety. I am confident that I have left this department better trained, equipped and prepared than ever before in the history of the Albany Fire Department."
As for his future plans, Chief Forezzi says he will be retired, take better care of himself and spend more time with his family.