Riverside Fire Chief Matthew Buckley has chosen a new deputy chief and has promoted two others to the rank of battalion chief.

Village Manager Jessica Frances announced the promotions at the Jan. 21 village board meeting. The promotions come more than a year since the department last employed a deputy fire chief.

The late William Sherman, who died in December 2019 after serving as a Riverside firefighter for 45 years, was deputy chief from 2015 until his death. 

“At first we wanted the dust to settle,” said Buckley of the wait to hire Sherman’s replacement, “and at the same time we had three lieutenants who were newly promoted. Then COVID hit and we spent the majority of the time dealing with that.”

The past year also ended up serving as a sort of proving ground, according to Buckley.

“It helped me determine what people were good at, and while the entire department did an excellent job, making the decisions came down to a few factors, and a lot came down to time on the job,” Buckley said.

Tapped as deputy chief is James Mulligan, a Riverside firefighter since 2012 who was promoted to lieutenant in July 2019. Mulligan also serves as the department’s training officer and is also a certified paramedic, hazardous materials technician and fire instructor.

Mulligan has played a key role in recruiting new members to the paid-on-call department and making sure they remain up to date on training. Only a handful of the Riverside Fire Department’s 36 paid-on-call firefighters have full-time jobs as firefighters elsewhere.

“Training of our employees is paramount for what we do,” Buckley said. “He’ll continue to oversee the training division.”

Mulligan works full time as a firefighter for the Carol Stream Fire Department. He is the son of Kevin Mulligan, a former Riverside fire chief and retired Pleasantview Fire Protection District battalion chief.

Mulligan elevated two other lieutenants to the rank of battalion chief on Jan. 14.

Ray Williamson, a Riverside firefighter since 1992 and lieutenant since 2003, was promoted alongside Dan Tabb, who was hired as a paid-on-call firefighter in 2002 and serves as the village of Riverside’s full-time public works director.

Williamson and Tabb are both certified emergency medical technicians and have attained their advanced firefighter certifications. Williamson is also a fire instructor and is a certified fire officer. Both are certified in hazardous materials operations.