Magnolia Fire Chief Gary Vincent retires, Commissioner Charlie Riley confirms he requested ESD 10 board's resignations

Following a wrongful termination lawsuit filed Jan. 13 by a Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department assistant fire chief who was fired in December, the five-member Montgomery County Emergency Services District No. 10 board has been replaced and former Fire Chief Gary Vincent has retired. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)
Following a wrongful termination lawsuit filed Jan. 13 by a Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department assistant fire chief who was fired in December, the five-member Montgomery County Emergency Services District No. 10 board has been replaced and former Fire Chief Gary Vincent has retired. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)

Following a wrongful termination lawsuit filed Jan. 13 by a Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department assistant fire chief who was fired in December, the five-member Montgomery County Emergency Services District No. 10 board has been replaced and former Fire Chief Gary Vincent has retired. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)

Former Fire Chief Gary Vincent officially announced his retirement, and Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley has confirmed he requested the resignations of the previous five-member Montgomery County Emergency Services District No. 10 board before the board was replaced March 9.

The changes in leadership with the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department and ESD 10 comes following a wrongful termination lawsuit that was filed Jan. 13 by a MVFD assistant fire chief who claimed he was fired in December. ESD 10 contracts with the MVFD to provide services and funds the department.

Riley requested resignations

While all five ESD 10 commissioners resigned from their positions in early March—and were replaced upon approval from Montgomery County Commissioners Court on March 9—Riley clarified in an interview March 16 that he asked for their resignations. Community Impact Newspaper has obtained the five resignation letters from the office of County Attorney B.D. Griffin through a public information request, which are included below.

“I did ask for the resignations of the ESD 10 board, and every one of them volunteered their resignations upon me asking that. I talked to every one of them as they come into the office, one at a time about their resignation, about what we were trying to do. I thanked every one of them for all of their service and all of the time they had put in with the ESD," Riley said. "I just felt it was time with the allegations that were going around, the investigation that was going on ... that they vacated their spot so we could put a new board in place and go in a new direction."

Riley previously told Community Impact Newspaper on March 5 all five members had submitted their resignations.

Montgomery County public records indicate the case, originally filed by Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Grant against Vincent and the MVFD, was amended Feb. 8 by Grant to also include ESD 10. The case is pending, with a bench trial set for Sept. 20.

The suit alleges Grant’s employment was terminated in December following a report to the District Attorney’s Office of misconduct surrounding the hiring and promotion of MVFD Director of Communications Elisa Noriega. She was promoted to assistant fire chief in November and given a raise to $142,000 despite having “minimal qualifications” and a recent criminal history, according to the case text. Community Impact Newspaper has requested the salaries of MVFD's officers and command staff but has not yet obtained that information.

Riley confirmed March 16 the District Attorney’s Office is conducting an investigation into the recent allegations.

"I don't know what else or who else may be under investigation," Riley said. "I just know it was the chief when I went and talked to [the district attorney]."

Vincent retiring

During the first meeting of the new ESD 10 board—Charles McDonald, Larry Smith, Heath Schultz, Kelly Violette and Jeff Cunningham—on March 9, John Peeler, general counsel for the district, said Vincent had tendered his retirement letter. Noriega confirmed in a March 5 phone call that Jeffrey Hevey began serving as interim fire chief in late February.
Community Impact Newspaper obtained a copy of Vincent’s letter March 16, the day prior to VFD’s announcement of Vincent’s retirement on its social media pages.

Vincent has served with the MVFD since 2006, according to information from the fire department, and said in his retirement letter it has been “an honor and privilege to serve.”

"We had a great group of guys at the ESD 10, but we did replace those guys with just-as-good, if not better people from the community, from the business community, and I think we’ve got some great things ahead of us at ESD 10 and Magnolia [Volunteer] Fire Department," Riley said.

Amid changes in leadership with the ESD and fire department, the new ESD board began discussions March 9 regarding ESD 10 becoming the direct provider of emergency services in the district instead of contracting with MVFD. The board is expected to discuss the possibility further during a regular meeting March 18.
By Anna Lotz

Editor, Tomball | Magnolia & Conroe | Montgomery

Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor for the Tomball|Magnolia edition. She began covering the communities of Conroe and Montgomery as well in 2020. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.



MOST RECENT

The Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce hosted the State of the State luncheon June 10. (Kim Giannetti/Community Impact Newspaper)
State Reps. Harless, Swanson reflect on 87th legislative session bills, events from pandemic to Winter Storm Uri

State Reps. Sam Harless and Valoree Swanson talked ERCOT and criminal justice reform, gun safety, senior living and redistricting at the June 10 Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce's State of the State luncheon.

Taco Bueno sells tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos and more unique items, including the Muchaco, a taco made with a soft pita-like shell. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Taco Bueno coming to Katy and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Loblolly Market has grown in size each month since its conception in November. (Courtesy Loblolly Market)
'A truly local market': Loblolly Market provides space for Tomball community to sell, connect

Loblolly Market, located in an barn on an old dairy farm, will host nearly 40 vendors June 12.

Nevrslo Motorsports provides accessories and services for car enthusiasts. (Courtesy Nevrslo Motorsports)
Nevrslo Motorsports, a truck and vehicle modification shop, to host July 10 grand opening in Tomball

All truck, car and SUV accessories can be found at Nevrslo Motorsports, open July 10.

Sen. Brandon Creighton announced his re-election campaign for Texas Senate District 4 on June 10. (Courtesy Brandon Creighton)
'Unfinished business remains': Brandon Creighton aims at re-election for Texas Senate District 4

Creighton announced his plans to run for re-election to serve his third term for the 88th Texas Legislature.

Economist Elliot Eisenberg spoke about the economic recovery post-pandemic, saying this year's GDP growth will be the best since the 1950s. (Brooke Ontiveros/Community Impact Newspaper)
Economist explains housing demand, price booms in Texas, Greater Houston area

Eisenberg explained why home prices are rising at a June 9 Greater Houston Builders Association luncheon.

Officials with the Harris County Justice Administration Department said they identified racial disparities in citations and use of force by law enforcement, among other areas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County identifies racial disparities in use of force, citations from law enforcement agencies

Analysis in the report included racial demographics in instances of consent search, contraband discovery, traffic stops that led to arrests, types of citations or warnings, and use of force.

Historymaker Homes is proposing a 19-acre townhome community on Holderrieth Road. Historymaker Homes, a Dallas-based firm, also has a townhome community in Humble. (Courtesy Historymaker Homes)
Townhomes proposed for Holderrieth Road in Tomball

The homes will be available for sale, not for rent, according to Historymaker Homes.

Single-family home sales in the Houston area surged 48.2% percent compared to May 2020, when real estate was in the process of recovering from coronavirus-related lockdowns. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Houston-area home sales in May up nearly 50% versus last year

Single-family home sales were up 48.2% compared to a year ago, with 9,702 units sold versus 6,546 a year earlier.

The eatery opened in early June at 102 Market St., Tomball. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Skeeters Dogs & Desserts now open in Tomball

The eatery is open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.