1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    You know, if you were half as smart as you think you are, never mind...

    The fact is that guys who aren't using come up positive. The fact is that mistakes happen in the testing process, and to say otherwise is ignorance, stupidity, or outright lying; which is it for you?

    You made yourself into a self-serving, ignorant mutt well before this topic, make no mistake about that.

    We're not talking about a guy who was boozing five minutes before a run, we're talking about false positives, mistakes in testing accountability, and those effects on a guy, his career and work environment. It happens.


    So then, what's your answer? How do we catch the scumbags who come to work hepped up? How do we keep them off the fireground and kick their a**es to the curb where they belong if we don't do random testing? What's your answer? And please don't deny that this is a problem.

    Well, considering that those laws are there for a reason, you should be thankful. Are you so ignorant as to think that your rights are being violated by the FLSA?

    This was an issue that was brought up by a bunch of union ****** who didn't like their union brothers volunteering on the same department on their off-time. This wasn't about Walmart making workers work for free and some corporation seeing a profit because of it. This became an issue because firefighters were volunteering in a fire department. Not making money for anyone but simply serving the community, of their own free will, when they were not getting paid, and nobody was getting hurt by it. That's the problem I have with it. That is why it bothers me so much. And exactly who I am hurting, or any of our other full time personnel hurting, by volunteering in our freetime in a primarily volunteer fire department? The fact is nobody is profiting off what we do in our free time, so please tell me where this massive issue is?

    Is it just the concept that we care so much about what we do that we want to do it beyond our working hours that offends you? Or is it the fact the it stands opposite of what the union says about giving nothing away for free?

    Do you have any clue as to how many civil rights were being violated by employers, before you were prevented from volunteering for your employer

    Again, this whole issue in the fire service came about because a bunch of full-time firefighters wanted to volunteer in the same department and some other fireman got their panties in a wad about it. No sweatshops. No 96-hour workweeks. Just some union guys that somehow felt what their brothers did of their own free will was wrong and they decided to make an issue of it. Something that really wasn't any of their damn business. That is what gets me so fired up about it.

    As far as civil service, we don't need the "employee protections" that come with it, and none of us want it. because we don't need it. We watch firefighters in the 2 area cities use civil service to protect thier asses when they should be fired and get away with crap because "procedures were not followed as specified" even though everyone knows what they did should be a termination. I know this first hand. Sorry, that's not employee protection. That's a bull*** system that does nothing but weaken the fire department by protecting those who screw up and still get to stay on the job. That is the last thing we want or need in our department.

    Civil service will change how we have to run our FD. It will break a system that is far from broken. Right now we provide Class 3 fire protection for far less per resident than any other department in this part of the state. Being forced to go civil service will change that not too far down the line. It likely will drive away volunteers and more than likley will force us to hire additional fulltime employees down the line. That benefits nobody. It certainly does not benefit the FD. It does not benefit the taxpayers who more than likely will see either taxes increase as we have to hire additional fulltime members 5-10 years from now as the vollies leave or will decease services. Either way, the taxpayers lose.

    Right now I can walk into the chief'sa office and be dealt with fairly. I don't need a civil service board to go running to like a little schoolgirl.

    Our system works. And it doesn't require civil service rules and regs. We don't want it and it's being forced on us. That's the damn issue.
    I am third in command for my department and as member of management not being represented I for one appreciate the efforts of my local. I may not always agree with them and at times we are at odds. However, because of their efforts, My employer typically applies the same rules and wage scale to non-represented management ranks.

    When it comes to discipline, my local does not oppose it, as long as I follow the rules and the action is justified.

    How does the taxpayer lose when full time staff are added to the ranks in order to provide adequate fire protection? Please explain this one. Increase in costs? If the taxpayer demands a better level of protection, then the taxpayer is willing to pay for it.

    I do not understand your logic being against civil service or some other form of third party verification. Should we not raise the bar and hold ourselves accountable? What is there to be afraid of?

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    How does the taxpayer lose when full time staff are added to the ranks in order to provide adequate fire protection? Please explain this one. Increase in costs? If the taxpayer demands a better level of protection, then the taxpayer is willing to pay for it

    To prevent this thread from being derailed, I will only say that full-time personnel does not always guarantee any better fire protection when compared to volunteer fire protection.

    This is true in our case. The volume of calls we run, and are projected to run for the next several years, could not ever justify increased paid staffing. We have trained a cost efficient volunteer force to provide the bulk of our staffing for significant incidents, and the system here works exceptionally well.

    A high level of fulltime staffing works well when there are sufficient runs and a sufficient level of intensity of those runs to justify the expense of fulltime staff. Where the volume and level of intensity does not exist, fulltime staffing is wasteful and inefficient, and the community would be far better served with a volunteer department.

    I do not understand your logic being against civil service or some other form of third party verification. Should we not raise the bar and hold ourselves accountable? What is there to be afraid of?

    Because we have run very well for the last 25 years hiring from within, promoting from within and dealing with personnel issues from within. We have adopted our policies to our system. In LA, it is well known that civil service does not work well with small combo departments, and because of civil service rules, most smalll combo departments have historically hired more FT staff and phased out volunteer staff to get away from those issues.

    The fact is history states that civil service will deem significant changes to our operations. Right now we provide excellent fire protection for much less per citizen than any other department in the area. based on the changes we have seen in other departments our size, after going civil service, that will change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    How does the taxpayer lose when full time staff are added to the ranks in order to provide adequate fire protection? Please explain this one. Increase in costs? If the taxpayer demands a better level of protection, then the taxpayer is willing to pay for it

    To prevent this thread from being derailed, I will only say that full-time personnel does not always guarantee any better fire protection when compared to volunteer fire protection.

    This is true in our case. The volume of calls we run, and are projected to run for the next several years, could not ever justify increased paid staffing. We have trained a cost efficient volunteer force to provide the bulk of our staffing for significant incidents, and the system here works exceptionally well.

    A high level of fulltime staffing works well when there are sufficient runs and a sufficient level of intensity of those runs to justify the expense of fulltime staff. Where the volume and level of intensity does not exist, fulltime staffing is wasteful and inefficient, and the community would be far better served with a volunteer department.

    I do not understand your logic being against civil service or some other form of third party verification. Should we not raise the bar and hold ourselves accountable? What is there to be afraid of?

    Because we have run very well for the last 25 years hiring from within, promoting from within and dealing with personnel issues from within. We have adopted our policies to our system. In LA, it is well known that civil service does not work well with small combo departments, and because of civil service rules, most smalll combo departments have historically hired more FT staff and phased out volunteer staff to get away from those issues.

    The fact is history states that civil service will deem significant changes to our operations. Right now we provide excellent fire protection for much less per citizen than any other department in the area. based on the changes we have seen in other departments our size, after going civil service, that will change.
    Nice dodge. If you don't want to derail the thread, then start a new one to answer the questions.

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    Medic ..

    I may have gone beyond the simple answer I was looking for.

    I was attempting to explain the situation to frosty as briefly as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Medic ..

    I may have gone beyond the simple answer I was looking for.

    I was attempting to explain the situation to frosty as briefly as possible.
    Ok????, but you still didn't answer my questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty42 View Post
    When it comes to discipline, my local does not oppose it, as long as I follow the rules and the action is justified.
    This is a great point that you make, and somehow seems to get lost when someone tosses out the 'ole union ****** mantra.
    Anytime punishment is handed out here, the local is not trying to prevent punishment, it is there to verify that the law is followed, and an employees due process is recognized. No more, no less.

    I realize it may be hard to believe for some, but not all administrations are fair and free of personal grudges. Sometimes, an extra nudge or two is given from forces outside of the chief's office, like say the mayor.

    Just because it hasn't happened in a place ever before, that doesn't mean that it can't change with a change in chiefs, a change in the mayor's office, or any of another bunch of variables.

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    Posted bylafireeducator

    This was an issue that was brought up by a bunch of union ****** who didn't like their union brothers volunteering on the same department on their off-time.
    I'll say it loud.. I'm a union ***** and proud!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    That's fine Gonzo.

    My point was that the two-hatting issue in Price George County that brought this issue into the courts for the fire service was brought up by union members who had an issue with other union members volunteering in their off time of their free will.

    They stuck their noses is not something that simply wasn't affecting them, as their was no requirement to volunteer in place. In other words, they got involved in a situation that didn't involve them.

    Sorry, to me that's a *****.

    I have minimal problems with the union as long as they stay out of our (the volunteers) business.

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    FireMedic ...

    Maybe it's an LA thing, but how will "Civil Service" break your system? Civil service stuff is usually about hiring, promoting, etc. So if you now have to do a civil service test to hire, how will that "drive away volunteers"?

    I am assuming these are the questions to which you are referring.

    We currently run 1-man shifts. There are no plans to add a 2nd firefighter in the near future.

    Civil service is about hiring, which will change our system. Currently, we hire 100% from within. When an opening occurs, a job posting is put up. There are training and length of service requirements. There is a scoring system in place that evaluates those. The top 3 take a skill evaluation test which is timed with deductions for procedural errors. The system combines the training/experience score and the time. The chief, however, is free to hire who he wishes of those top 3.

    Because all applicants have been members, they are known commodities. We know their strengths and weaknesses. We know their work ethic and we know hoe dependable they are first hand. The system works very well because of that.


    Because we hire from within, and the person that is hired has worked 24 hour relief shifts and fully understands how we operate and how the system works, there is no training or "break-in period" required. He can immediattly go to work alone. Obviously, this makes for a very smooth system and eliminates any training period, which saves us money.

    Under civil service, we will not only be forced to pay for a written test, but we may also be forced to hire someone who has in an unknown quantity, and in addition, will need him to work alongside someone on shift until he learns the system. This will cost us money.

    In addition, many of our volunteers to stay with us as a potential stepping stone to fulltime. Knowing they they only have to compete with those within the department is a factor in their motivation to excel as volunteers.

    Promotional tests pose another issue. We are still looking for answers on that, however, based on some early conversations with other combo department, under LA civil service, there are issues with volunteers.

    There are some other issues that we are still investigating, and as of yet, have no firm answers as to how they will affect us

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    That's fine Gonzo.

    My point was that the two-hatting issue in Price George County that brought this issue into the courts for the fire service was brought up by union members who had an issue with other union members volunteering in their off time of their free will.

    They stuck their noses is not something that simply wasn't affecting them, as their was no requirement to volunteer in place. In other words, they got involved in a situation that didn't involve them.

    Sorry, to me that's a *****.

    I have minimal problems with the union as long as they stay out of our (the volunteers) business.
    Would you like to buy a vowel?

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    I would like to buy an "A" please.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    That's fine Gonzo.

    My point was that the two-hatting issue in Price George County that brought this issue into the courts for the fire service was brought up by union members who had an issue with other union members volunteering in their off time of their free will.

    They stuck their noses is not something that simply wasn't affecting them, as their was no requirement to volunteer in place. In other words, they got involved in a situation that didn't involve them.

    Sorry, to me that's a *****.

    I have minimal problems with the union as long as they stay out of our (the volunteers) business.
    But what you still fail to understand is that it WAS affecting and did involve them!

    The fact that these FFs were volunteering WASN'T the issue. It was the fact that they were volunteering in a fire department of another Local and their conduct within that department towards the members of that Local.

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    Please tell me how it was affecting THEM?

    Driving down wages because there were volunteers? You could argue that but I don't buy it.

    Preventing the hiring of additional full-time personnel because there was a not a need because of the volunteers?
    That affects the union and the number of union members but does not affect them.

    Probably the same arguments against us (besides the legality issue) volunteering in our own department that simply don't hold water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Please tell me how it was affecting THEM?

    Driving down wages because there were volunteers? You could argue that but I don't buy it.

    Preventing the hiring of additional full-time personnel because there was a not a need because of the volunteers?
    That affects the union and the number of union members but does not affect them.

    Probably the same arguments against us (besides the legality issue) volunteering in our own department that simply don't hold water.
    Before I answer, just so we're clear, who are the "them" you refer to above?

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    Before I answer, just so we're clear, who are the "them" you refer to above?

    The career personnel who were not volunteering who decided to make a stink about those who were.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Please tell me how it was affecting THEM?
    As I stated before, the actual conduct of some of these two-hatters towards the career personnel in this combo department has been poor. I'd even venture to say that if some of what they are doing happened to them in their career department, they'd be bitching up a storm.

    Additionally, from my understanding of the situation there, this isn't really a situation of FFs wanting to "help out THEIR community" where they live to protect their home and family, but rather the serving of their own personal wants or needs.

    Driving down wages because there were volunteers? You could argue that but I don't buy it.
    The two-hatters probably aren't significantly affecting wages in the combo department, but they certainly could be making the wage & benefit discussion for their own Local more difficult.

    Preventing the hiring of additional full-time personnel because there was a not a need because of the volunteers?
    That affects the union and the number of union members but does not affect them.
    First, do you realize that the ones making "a stink" as you put it, ARE the Union (or at least that Local)?

    It's hard to definatively say if the addition of full-time personnel is being prevented in that specific department, largely because they appear to be in financial trouble and can't afford to add personnel. However, it's really not that hard to see that the two-hatters are affecting that discussion.



    Probably the same arguments against us (besides the legality issue) volunteering in our own department that simply don't hold water.
    Well, given the fact that the law says you can't volunteer where you work, there is no argument to make either way.

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    It's hard to definatively say if the addition of full-time personnel is being prevented in that specific department, largely because they appear to be in financial trouble and can't afford to add personnel. However, it's really not that hard to see that the two-hatters are affecting that discussion.


    Which brings me to my point........

    The lack of fulltime personnel being added, in whole or in part due to the presence of volunteer personnel, has no real affect on the firefighters who raised the issue. The manpower was still there - in volunteer form.

    The issue is that the lack of positions being added was a concern of the union. And the concern had nothing to do with public safety, but was more a concern about more fulltuime employees equals more dues to collect.

    That's the whole crux of the problem, for me at least.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    That's the whole crux of the problem, for me at least.
    If that's what you get from this fine, it just means that you really don't understand the issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite View Post
    Not for nothing cap, but it shouldn't have to be negotiated. It's a public safety issue. and not public safety like firefighting, but for the safety of the public, and the safety of each and every firefighter.

    Should the Boston FD be operating without an contract for over 3 years? absolutely not.

    Should the BFD be opposed to drug testing, saying it should be negotiated? Well, every day it isn't done potentially puts the public in greater jeopardy, as well as every FF and apparatus operator in great jeopardy.

    They should accept the drug tests, it is in the best interests of everybody.
    The problem is, if its not negotiated, it can be used capriciously and arbitrarily for purposes of harassment. I think it should be negotiated.
    "Did you check under the bed?" -- Judge Crater, 1930

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    LaFireEducator said "Funny, I've been tested several times on a random and one post-accident, and never worried."
    Maybe you didn't know to be worried because you don't understand the consequences of a false positive, or the likely hood of a mistake in the testing procedure. Imagine if it did come back positive ???? you would be sweating a retake and wondering how you came up + .. you might be signing a different tune here today.

    All in all i believe we should be tested but it should definitely be negotiated ... cheaper that way in the long run too as it stops a lot of law suits. Follow the agreed procedure which PROTECTS BOTH PARTIES from the suits ...

    Union ****** ..??.. i'd take a whole bunch of union ****** over lawyers or a LaFireEducator just about any day..

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    Drug testing is a part of private industry, so why is the fire service any different?
    Stephen J Bourassa
    Latham FD (NY)
    member since 1969
    challenge competitor since 1993

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitguy51 View Post
    Drug testing is a part of private industry, so why is the fire service any different?
    Maybe because the fire service isn't private industry????


    Regardless, all of private industry doesn't utilize drug testing and all of the fire service doesn't not perform drug testing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    Maybe because the fire service isn't private industry????


    Regardless, all of private industry doesn't utilize drug testing and all of the fire service doesn't not perform drug testing.
    I guess too many people think the glass is half empty rather than half full.
    Stephen J Bourassa
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    member since 1969
    challenge competitor since 1993

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitguy51 View Post
    I guess too many people think the glass is half empty rather than half full.
    Maybe I'm just tired from our fire tonight, but what in the world are you talking about?

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    Based on Fitguy's post, I wonder if the Combat Challenge makes its participants "pee in the cup" before the competition.

    I did the CC in 1996 and didn't have to.

    PS: if one wants to make public safety personnel have mandatory drug and alcohol testing.. then do it across the board for all public employees, including teachers, librarians and yes, even the politicians!
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 07-11-2009 at 11:35 AM.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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