1. #1
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    Angry Small Town Politics

    I am the chief of a town of approximatley 2000 residents and a fire dept. with 20 members. I have numerous problems with the Mayor of the town who has the police chief run things, has took away the keys to the city so we cant fill our rescue vehicles and engines,yes is there is a story behind that one, and has said I, as the chief, have no authority to make any decisions for the department without going thru the council.
    Another problem I have is that another fire chief from another town is also a council member.
    What I am needing does ANYONE got any advice for me and if they do would they please pass it on. I am about at the end of my rope and have almost made the decision to resign out and tell them they want to run it so bad they can have it. But there is one problem with that. The entire department has said that if I resign out or the council does not re-appoint me this time around that they won't work for anyone else. I know that I am expendable and have told my crew that and that they should not resign their post either but it does not work.
    ANY ADVICE??????

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    First of all, I wouldn't resign just because the mayor and/or police chief doesn't like you.

    As for the other, I'll give you an opinion, and some questions, based on the limited information. I'm primarily curious why you need keys to the city to fill trucks? If you have hydrants, why not use them?

    As far as the other stuff, the best thing I've found is to address (diplomatically) problems in open session of a council meeting while the local reporter is sitting there. Don't cast blame, rather bring the heart of the problem to them. Example: "Without access to city facilities, we are unable to fill our trucks. If we expend the water and can't fill them outside of normal business hours, we cannot run any further responses until the city opens the next day."

    As for the police chief, I think I'd let him know that the council is my employer, and that he might be more concerned about his own department. The way I see it, unless it involves spending city money or policies, they don't need to OK each and every thing you do. You're the chief and appointed to handle the day-to-day operations.

    Other than getting the department out of city hands (stuff like this helped us do just that when we got our District approved by voters), you may just have to wait until you get a friendlier council/mayor to improved conditions.

  3. #3
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    I'm thinking he is talking about filling the trucks with fuel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    I'm thinking he is talking about filling the trucks with fuel.
    I kind of wondered that, but figured the same thing still applies. If you can't get fuel after hours, you're still unable to answer calls.

  5. #5
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    I agree with the poster who said that it should be made public knowledge of how things are being run. Get all their policies in writing not just verbal, then when the fecal matter hits the fan you'll have a leg to stand on. Above all always take the high road no matter how hard it may seem, do what is right and honorable and you'll have nothing that they can hang you with.

    Larry

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    Okay I did not specify as to why we neeed keys to the city. My bad. The fuel pumps are located at city hall. The fire dept. is a very different building than what city hall is located in. As for the media thing that is going to happen. Thing is that our city is small enough that the only thing they have to do is to meet once a month. So, if they wanted to drag this out for a month they actually can and not speak to me which they have refused to do. Opened or closed session.
    As for the honorale thing I know it would be to stay, suck it up and move on. But there is only so much one person should be able to take before they say this crap is enough. And that time is now. I have bent over backwards for these individuals and with the help of the dept. we have, as a whole, changed the way the county looks at us.

    Catch22 drop me a email at crimsonproud@yahoo.com and I will give you the run down. Lots of politics and I aint no politician.

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    Default RE: Small Town Politics

    Welcome to Chief-dom brother, I feel your pain!

    First off, do not resign. That is exactly what they want you to do. If they had wanted to, or could fire you, they probably would have already. If you bail, you leave your community and the folks you lead to deal with this alone. If the entire department resigns, my guess is that Chief from the other town already has ideas on how to fix that.

    I may not have one shred of advice that would work for you, but I've been around the political block a few times (I have the scars to prove it). Maybe something I've experienced in my time as a Fire Chief may help you out.

    You can catch me at OldFireDude400@gmail.com. Hang in there.

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    Stick in there Chief. Small town politics can make a federal election look like a church social.

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    The thing is, it doesn't matter on what scale the politics are, there will be back room bargaining, deal striking behind the back, blindsides. and back stabbing. Difference is, in a small town it becomes more personal.

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    Could Not Resist....
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  11. #11
    55 Years & Still Rolling
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    Post OK, Couple of Questions..................... ..

    1. Who owns the Apparatus and Equipment?

    2. Who owns the Fire Station?

    Information such as this has a huge bearing on things.

    Personally, I would have a long look at EVERYTHING that impacts on the Department in it's relationship with Local Government. I happily have no experience what so ever in a situation like yours, simply because here in Maryland, Local Government involvement in Fire/Rescue services is severely limited. The Vast majority of Volunteer Fire/Rescue Organizations here own the Apparatus and Stations, not Local Government. Along with that, Mayors and Councils, Etc. have no authority over the department, and the Chief is usually elected by the Membership for a specific term of office. Requirements vary, but a certain level of training and experience must be met to hold office.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

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