City Announces Staff Retirements
The City of Williamsburg announces the retirement of two outstanding department directors, Human Services Director Peter Walentisch effective May 1, 2019 and Fire Chief William “Pat” Dent effective July 1, 2019.
Peter Walentisch was hired by the City of Williamsburg in August of 1990 as the Social Services Director after serving several years in the social services and mental health community in Connecticut and Massachusetts. He saw the transformation of the Williamsburg Social Services Bureau into the Human Services Department delivering both social services and community services programs for the city and he has been part of the considerable growth in workforce training and partnerships with Thomas Nelson Community College and grants through the state. Throughout his tenure, he served a dual role as the city’s Social Services Director for all federal/state programs and as the Human Services Director for the city. For a time he also served as Executive Director of the Williamsburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority where he managed the city’s public housing and redevelopment and housing projects. He has implemented countless youth development programs including Tae Kwon Do, the Youth Advisory Council, Achieving Careers Today and the Summer Youth Program (SYAP). More than 1,500 city students have participated in year round programs and outreach. He has promoted many intergenerational activities and events between the senior population and students. Peter has been involved in a number of public, private, and faith-based regional partnerships over the past twenty-eight years.
Pat Dent was hired by the City of Williamsburg in February of 2009 as the Deputy Fire Chief. He was promoted to Chief in 2010 upon the retirement of Chief T.K. Weiler. He is a career fire professional with more than 30 years’ experience working for both the City of Newport News and the City of Williamsburg. During his tenure, the city received an ISO rating of 2, up from 4, and missed the top rating of 1 by just 1.6 points. This is the second highest Public Protection Classification rating possible from the Insurance Services Office (ISO). The classification places Williamsburg in the top 2% of all fire departments throughout the United States. He implemented the ALS Technician/Firefighter position to address the increasing demand for emergency medical services incidents as well as the Professional Development Program, a combination of higher education courses and Fire/EMS courses to prepare personnel for future advancement in the department.
Together, Peter and Pat created and coordinate the city’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)/Neighborhood Response Team (NRT) program. By recruiting neighborhood volunteers, CERT/NRT members are trained in a nationally-recognized FEMA program for community disaster preparedness. Since 2003, over 150 citizens in Williamsburg have received this training or been involved in NRT.
The City will undergo a search for both positions advertising in local and state resources such as the Virginia Gazette/Daily Press, Virginia Municipal League and the Virginia Association of Counties as well as national employment platforms including www.governmentjobs.com and www.indeed.com. The city’s Human Resources Office will begin advertising the human services position in mid-April and close the application process in mid-May. A new Interim Fire Chief will be named before the end of May and the position will be advertised beginning in June and the application process will close in mid-July.
“Both Peter and Pat have been exceptional public servants and leaders in their respective professions. You never want to lose the kind of talent these men bring to a community, but you always want to celebrate their decision to retire and enjoy time with family and friends. While we are incredibly sad to see them leave, we thank them for everything they have brought to this community and wish them nothing but the best,” says City Manager Andrew Trivette. “As a city manager, Peter and Pat are all you can hope for as colleagues and on a personal level, I am sad to lose two friends from my work family.”
Photos: William "Pat" Dent, Peter Walentisch