1. #26
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    Like others have pointed out, it is ILLEGAL under the FLSA for you to be a volunteer firefighter in the same department where you work as a paid firefighter.

    If you show up at a scene outside your scheduled shift, the department has to pay you overtime.

    FLSA violations open your department up for all sorts of liability that I am sure they have never considered.

    That is the key here. You and all other career firefighters in your department have to stop being Volunteers today.

  2. #27
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    My department is aware of the issue, as a department near us got caught a few years ago.

    It is still an expectation, not a requirement, that we respond off-duty.

    And none of our paid personnel have any issues with it.

    As for myself and the Deputy Chief, we are exempt personnel.

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    This thread is an excellent example of why I like either being deep in the heart of volly country or deep in the heart of career land. Things get way to complicated in a few of the combo departments I've seen.

  4. #29
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    It's actually not that complicated as long as the structure is defined and the leadership provides a clear path, clear job responsibilities and clear rank structure.

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    Being in Texas, I have seen what this rank structure problem is based in. TCFP, which certifies all state professional (career) firefighters requires the 600+ hour training, for Basic Structural Firefighter. Texas State Fire Marshall, which governs the volunteers requires nothing. So there is a very real possibility that a rookie career firefighter has had 600+ hours more training than a volunteer Lieutenant.

    Honesty, I think that the state needs to combine the two agencies. Require volunteers to get FF1&2, Hazmat, blah, blah. Time has come that the good ol' boys days should be numbered.

    Oh, yeah, it is against labor laws to volunteer where you work.

  6. #31
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    Being in Texas, I have seen what this rank structure problem is based in. TCFP, which certifies all state professional (career) firefighters requires the 600+ hour training, for Basic Structural Firefighter. Texas State Fire Marshall, which governs the volunteers requires nothing. So there is a very real possibility that a rookie career firefighter has had 600+ hours more training than a volunteer Lieutenant.

    Less of an issue here as there are no standards. We have several volunteers that are more extensively trained than our career personnel.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Less of an issue here as there are no standards.

    we've noticed

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    Quote Originally Posted by PATF1engineer View Post
    That is great that they are "permitted to volunteer".

    Are they expected to go on the call? What happens when they decide they don't want to go on a call?

    That is where these cute little ways of trying to skirt the law start to fall apart.
    Beats the sh1t out of me. Dont work or volly with any of the county companies. Just know this situations exists.

  9. #34
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    Sounds like you need to make a choice. Work or volunteer. Not both.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    My department is aware of the issue, as a department near us got caught a few years ago.

    It is still an expectation, not a requirement, that we respond off-duty.

    And none of our paid personnel have any issues with it.

    As for myself and the Deputy Chief, we are exempt personnel.
    That will be of little concern when you are dragged into court. You cannot pick and choose which laws you will or will not comply with.

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    All I could see in the post was blah blah blah.....
    Quote Originally Posted by beyoung90 View Post


    I am the only Paid guy that also runs calls at night as volunteer. The volunteer command structure is


    Thanks
    blah blah blah...

    My advice, fix that issue

  12. #37
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    That will be of little concern when you are dragged into court. You cannot pick and choose which laws you will or will not comply with.

    It will be the decision of the Chief when, or if, we stop the practice.

    If it does stop in this area, it will have an significant effect on manpower in the combo departments.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    That will be of little concern when you are dragged into court. You cannot pick and choose which laws you will or will not comply with.

    It will be the decision of the Chief when, or if, we stop the practice.

    If it does stop in this area, it will have an significant effect on manpower in the combo departments.
    That very well may be true, but it still doesn't diminish the fact that your department IS violating Federal labor law by not paying the career personnel when they respond "off-duty".

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by FiremanLyman View Post
    Being in Texas, I have seen what this rank structure problem is based in. TCFP, which certifies all state professional (career) firefighters requires the 600+ hour training, for Basic Structural Firefighter. Texas State Fire Marshall, which governs the volunteers requires nothing. So there is a very real possibility that a rookie career firefighter has had 600+ hours more training than a volunteer Lieutenant.
    I think this really speaks to the heart of these types of issues. From what I've seen, these "chain of command" problems seem to arise mainly when there is not one single training standard for ALL personnel within the department.

    If the requirements for and assignment to each rank within the department is the same, then you pretty much eliminate the issue and the pay status of the personnel becomes irrelevant. I'm sure hwoods would agree that his system works as well as it does in part because of the use of uniform standards for its personnel.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    That will be of little concern when you are dragged into court. You cannot pick and choose which laws you will or will not comply with.

    It will be the decision of the Chief when, or if, we stop the practice.
    No it will not. It will be the US labor Department when, not if, you are caught.

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    If it does stop in this area, it will have an significant effect on manpower in the combo departments.
    Not as much as the operation of the department when the court order it to pay back pay.

  16. #41
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    Not fire service related, but I worked for a Fortune 500 company a few years ago that got in FLSA probllems twice in a three year period.

    First, the DOL decided the company had too many people categorized as salary that should be hourly. The solution, the DOL told them, by name, 3000 employees who had to convert from salary to hourly. Next the DOL estimated an approximate number of hours of back overtime that the company had to pay those employees. I think I got about $8k, because they only went back 4 years.

    2 years later, DOL came back and said that the company was calculating shift start times wrong and owed all current and former hourly employees 15 minutes per shift of overtime for the previous 4 years. Since this affected over 10,000 people, it hurt too.

    I got a couple grand that year.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by kd7fds View Post
    Not fire service related, but I worked for a Fortune 500 company a few years ago that got in FLSA probllems twice in a three year period.

    First, the DOL decided the company had too many people categorized as salary that should be hourly. The solution, the DOL told them, by name, 3000 employees who had to convert from salary to hourly. Next the DOL estimated an approximate number of hours of back overtime that the company had to pay those employees. I think I got about $8k, because they only went back 4 years.

    2 years later, DOL came back and said that the company was calculating shift start times wrong and owed all current and former hourly employees 15 minutes per shift of overtime for the previous 4 years. Since this affected over 10,000 people, it hurt too.

    I got a couple grand that year.
    Yeah, the whole thing about the FD's hiring firefighters as janitors made me think those guys will have a nice little retirement when they leave an drop the dime to DOL or whoever regulates the wages, taxes and hours. The same situation you noted above, happened to a Fortune $.05 company I worked for, we all got back pay for any hours worked and not directly compensated at time and one half. It put a real hurt on the little business, for something the employees had agreed to, but the Fed's didn't care. It was mostly about them paying the taxes on the time and a half as I recall. We were just happy to still have jobs.

  18. #43

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    Default conflict appears misguided

    In the absence of any information other than considering the order was a life safety issue, it's really difficult to make any sort of recommendation or provide guidance as to resolving the conflict with the order, itself.

    Is the issue the order or the order came from a volunteer officer? After a few months of duty shifts, you are questioning the officer because he's a volunteer. You too are a volunteer; you just recently joined up, full time. The amount of active experience on "real runs" is on par with those volunteers that are responding with you on 3rd shift. If you are getting the experience, so are they.

    You've made a point of distinguishing that you now a "career" guy and the order came from a volunteer. I can't believe that the issue lies with "life safety" since the verbose post doesn't provide any detail.

    I'm a member of a combination department. I don't distinguish between volunteer and career, nor do I believe that is an attribute that measures aptitude, commitment or ability.

    One could take the incorrect position and state that one shouldn't take orders from a career FF with less experience and vise versa. I prefer to rely on the leadership of the department as a whole to determine rank and the chain of command. No system is perfect, but you work with what you have.

    If we begin questioning everyone's decision making, then we'll either put ourselves in harmís way by delaying critical task completion or create "freelancing" which gets people killed.

    Rely on your fellow firefighters. Where the paycheck comes from is not relevant.

    I would hazard a guess that you had trust issues with the Vol Lt prior to your acceptance of the duty position.

    At the end of the day, if you've made no mistakes, then you are ahead. Tomorrow may not go as well and try to grant this consideration to others.

    If you don't like or trust the chain of command, then get promoted and change it for the better.

    This is a team sport and at the end of the day, we all answer to those we protect.

    You sound young so please hang onto your enthusiasm. Channel that energy into being the best firefighter you can be and don't sweat the little stuff.

    Be safe.

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