Collective Influence and Positive Relationships

Two columns I've written in the past year addressed topics that have become increasingly important in recent months. Not that they weren't important before, but as of late, circumstances have arisen that shine a spotlight on them for very special...


Two columns I've written in the past year addressed topics that have become increasingly important in recent months. Not that they weren't important before, but as of late, circumstances have arisen that shine a spotlight on them for very special reasons. The first column was titled "Positive...


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This jointly published document makes the point that "fire chiefs and IAFF union presidents would be wise to anticipate a contact in their jurisdictions and should be proactive in developing a strategy to successfully address it before there is a proposal on the table. A key to any response to a (private provider) threat or actual proposal is open and productive labor/management communications. Management and labor must be able to work together to protect their local fire department-based EMS system." They go on to assert that "the importance of communications and positive relationships with appointed and elected public officials cannot be overstated. This should be an ongoing effort of both labor and management and can be critical to preventing a (private provider) proposal from being solicited or gaining any momentum."

I couldn't agree more with the suggestions of the IAFC, IAFF and Metro Chiefs concerning this critical threat to fire service deployment models in many jurisdictions. Their document brought me back to the two previous columns I referenced earlier. If labor and management can't deal with each other in a positive and productive way, and if the union leadership and fire department management can't (or won't) use their collective political influence to address critical issues like outsourcing, it opens the door for private providers to pick away at our critical emergency response resources.

DENNIS COMPTON, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a well-known speaker and the author of several books, including his newest offering titled Progressive Leadership Principles, Concepts and Tools. He has also authored the three-part series of books titled When in Doubt, Lead, the book Mental Aspects of Performance for Firefighters and Fire Officers, as well as many articles, chapters and other publications. Compton was the fire chief in Mesa, AZ, for five years and as assistant fire chief in Phoenix, AZ, where he served for 27 years. Compton is the past chair of the Executive Board of the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) and past chair of the Congressional Fire Services Institute's National Advisory Committee. He is also chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Board of Directors and the chairman of the Home Safety Council Board of Directors.