Calling the chief by first name
This is a topic I'd like some opinions on. Short of the story: I'm soon to take on my first chief job. Medium sized career department with 57 guys on the floor, no volunteers. I'll be their only 3rd outside fire chief in their over 120 year history. All of the ones in the last 20 years have been promoted from within. Obviously, they're not going to know what to make of the new guy for a while.
What do people think of the practice of calling a chief by their first name as a way to break down barriers, or does it cause too many problems with discipline? I've been associated with or worked at a lot of fire departments over the years, and I always remember that one of the funnest and relaxed ones to be around was the one place where the chief insisted that everyone call him "Bob." He'd actually get perturbed when new guys would try to call him "chief."
The reason I think about this now is that there is obviously going to be a lot of trepidation in my new department because the guys don't know me. Some of them probably won't trust me initially. I was thinking of the idea of telling them that around the station, they could call me "Jack," but when we're out in the public or at emergency scenes, I'd prefer "chief." It seems like a good middle ground to me, and might be a way to break down that initial distrust guys will have with me.
Good idea, or better to just leave it to the traditional paramilitary structure?