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  1. #1
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    Default More hate in Boston, this time for washing POV

    Well, a POB anyway:

    http://www.firehouse.com/news/top-he...-personal-boat

    Having been a career firefighter for 20 years, I see both sides of this. When I was on the line, I would have screamed bloody murder if some John Q. tried to tell us we couldn't wash our rigs on "our time." I remember some guys would work on car repairs and one guy even bringing in his airplane wing to work on it. Damned thing took up an entire empty bay. But this was always in the evening on personal time. That's what the public doesn't get. They think if we're not out on calls we should just be stored in a closet somewhere. No TV, no food, and by GOD we better not be sleeping. One guy spends his personal time reading a book or watching a movie and another one wants to wash his car. Is there really that much difference?

    As a chief now, however, I do see some of the PR side of it. It's the appearance we have to be concerned about. It's like the crews taking the huge ladder truck to the grocery store or sitting on the park bench out in front of the station. It can just look bad (depending on your community). Especially with all the pre-existing vitriol in Boston, I'd be very concerned if I were the chief if my guys did even the tiniest thing that could be misinterpreted by the public.

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    One issue in this that's a little different is that the FF is obviously using the city's water (and maybe soap & stuff) to wash personal property.

    In light of the recent pay increase that Boston got, it was just really bad timing for this guy. Whether he gets a chewing-out or not, all the FF's in Boston should be careful for a while about keeping up good appearances.
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    If you have downtime, then you should be able to use the downtime however you wish.

    But I also see the PR problem there. Not so much with the boat, but with guys working on POV's and such. Don't get me wrong, I have worked on my breaks and done many oil changes during down-time. The question Joe Taxpayer will ask is this: Who is paying for the oil change? I'm not talking about the pay for the firefighter who is working on the car. Who is paying for the tools the firefighter is using? Is he dumping his used oil in the container for the used oil from the Engine? Is the city paying to dispose of his POV oil? Might he even fill up his POV with oil from the Department? Those tools were paid for with taxmoney to work on Fire Department vehicles, not POV's. Should Joe Taxpayer be able to pull into the bay and use city tools to work on his car?

    I don't agree with my previous argument, I'm just throwing it out there to play devils advocate. Those are the kind of questions that Joe Taxpayer will ask.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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    The issue here is perception. There is some merit to both sides of this story.

    Having been a firefighter for 25 years, I assure you I've washed my car hundreds of times and done other "personal projects" on duty. The two things I always kept foremost in my mind were 1) readiness, and 2) perception.

    Readiness implies that you are always ready to do your job immediately 100% of the time.

    Perception requires you to look at what you are doing from as many different angles as possible to ensure that it is not misconstrued as something you should not be doing.

    The story about the Boston firefighter and his boat is a combination of several things: 1) a bitter citizen; 2) a drama-hungry reporter looking for his big "break" in the media; and 3) bad timing.

    The citizen appears to be upset about the recent payraise the FF's received. He is likely assuming that the firefighter is using city-bought items to wash and maintain his boat. That being said, the citizen likely has no clue whatsoever about what occurs on a 24-hour shift... readiness, emergency responses, preplanning, maintaining plugs, and etc. A citizen will usually look at our "discretionary time" with a great deal of skepticism as demonstrated here.

    The firefighter in this news story hopefully was using his own stuff after all of his readiness inspections and housework was complete.

    But then there is the issue of using the city's water.

    You can spin this all day.
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    The problem is not the perception. The problem is the news media CHOOSING THE PERCEPTION. The slime that writes these incompetent articles intentionally write in a way to drag the FD through the mud and put on a sensational story out of nothing. They do it because it sells papers and stirs up emotion which stirs up ratings. They could write the article fairly and describe the reality of it which we all know. They could not write an article at all due to it being a complete non-issue. But no, they choose a perspective and turn it into fact. Everytime.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    The problem is not the perception. The problem is the news media CHOOSING THE PERCEPTION. The slime that writes these incompetent articles intentionally write in a way to drag the FD through the mud and put on a sensational story out of nothing. They do it because it sells papers and stirs up emotion which stirs up ratings. They could write the article fairly and describe the reality of it which we all know. They could not write an article at all due to it being a complete non-issue. But no, they choose a perspective and turn it into fact. Everytime.
    Your right.....but perception is reality and the general public doesn't distingish the two. The better course of action would be for "us" not to give them the ammo to blast us......like closing the bay door when you work on a project or wash a car ..... move it to the rear of the bay and back the truck in front of it.....don't throw it in the publics face and then they can't toss it at you

    The press is the press...I watched the cop tag the girl in Seattle over and over and over while talking to that jackass Sharpton on NBC...they were just trying to stir up S#it
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    The use of a public facility or equipment for personal use is against the regulation for the U.S. Government. The State of NY also has the same regulations and laws. It is against the law and it is highly unethical to use a public facility for personal use. The argument could be made that since this is a public facility, and the public employees are using the facility for this purpose, then the public should also be allowed.

    I also disagree with this statement "If you have downtime, then you should be able to use the downtime however you wish." If you have downtime train, read an article or book pertaining to the job. Look for better ways to do the job. Go to the break room and relax. Even reading the forums and articles on Firehouse.com. Do research.

    You are being paid to do a job and the taxpayer wants you to do that job. I experience the same thing in my office. When we have our required work all done we are expected to do research and learn about new things. The computers and equipment that is owned by the State of NY is for official use only. We aren't even allowed to use them to read the news as many news sites get hacked and will download malicious software. Most recent was FoxNews.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    The use of a public facility or equipment for personal use is against the regulation for the U.S. Government. The State of NY also has the same regulations and laws. It is against the law and it is highly unethical to use a public facility for personal use. The argument could be made that since this is a public facility, and the public employees are using the facility for this purpose, then the public should also be allowed.

    I also disagree with this statement "If you have downtime, then you should be able to use the downtime however you wish." If you have downtime train, read an article or book pertaining to the job. Look for better ways to do the job. Go to the break room and relax. Even reading the forums and articles on Firehouse.com. Do research.

    You are being paid to do a job and the taxpayer wants you to do that job. I experience the same thing in my office. When we have our required work all done we are expected to do research and learn about new things. The computers and equipment that is owned by the State of NY is for official use only. We aren't even allowed to use them to read the news as many news sites get hacked and will download malicious software. Most recent was FoxNews.
    For the love of all that's holy and whatever deity or lack thereof you do or do not believe in....

    SHUT THE @#$! UP!

    This does not affect you in any way, shape or form... and since have admitted that you cruise the 'net on "company time" to post here and you are working on a government contract.. then you are guilty, too...

    FYI.. my FD has used firefighter's personaly owned boats, snowmobiles and ATV's as resources for water incidents and incidents on the bike trails and the state and city parks when requested. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's a resource that is used.
    ‎"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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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    For the love of all that's holy and whatever deity or lack thereof you do or do not believe in....

    SHUT THE @#$! UP!

    This does not affect you in any way, shape or form... and since have admitted that you cruise the 'net on "company time" to post here and you are working on a government contract.. then you are guilty, too...

    FYI.. my FD has used firefighter's personaly owned boats, snowmobiles and ATV's as resources for water incidents and incidents on the bike trails and the state and city parks when requested. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's a resource that is used.
    "Newsflash.. this thread isn't about you or your stupid antics." CaptainGonzo

    Actually, I am salary, so sometimes I do cruise the net on company time. I also work extra hours with no compensation too. In the end, the government ends up winning.

    But as you said this thread isn't about me. It is about right and wrong. And it is wrong to use Government resources for personal use.

    We have a local FD that is taking a lot of heat from the public. All because they portrayed a poor image. Rest assured in the next contract mandatory staffing will go from 7 to 5. There will be no more ambulance chasing to drive up numbers. This improper attitude affects us all. It isn't just about you and your ignorance.


    This does not affect you in any way, shape or form... and since have admitted that you cruise the 'net on "company time" to post here and you are working on a government contract.. then you are guilty, too...
    This also doesn't affect EastKyFF, MarcusKspn, rjtoc2, nmfire, and Ltmdepas3280. Your prejudice and bias is glowing in the dark. I would call you a moron but that would be degrading to all the morons in the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    The use of a public facility or equipment for personal use is against the regulation for the U.S. Government. The State of NY also has the same regulations and laws. It is against the law and it is highly unethical to use a public facility for personal use. The argument could be made that since this is a public facility, and the public employees are using the facility for this purpose, then the public should also be allowed.

    I also disagree with this statement "If you have downtime, then you should be able to use the downtime however you wish." If you have downtime train, read an article or book pertaining to the job. Look for better ways to do the job. Go to the break room and relax. Even reading the forums and articles on Firehouse.com. Do research.

    You are being paid to do a job and the taxpayer wants you to do that job. I experience the same thing in my office. When we have our required work all done we are expected to do research and learn about new things. The computers and equipment that is owned by the State of NY is for official use only. We aren't even allowed to use them to read the news as many news sites get hacked and will download malicious software. Most recent was FoxNews.


    Where are you getting all this Authority Information about the Federal Laws? They in essence have nothing to do with City Fire Houses. buckwheat! Maybe in your little bean counter world of foolish dribble, the Feds rule.



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    Quote Originally Posted by roykirk1989 View Post
    Well, a POB anyway:

    http://www.firehouse.com/news/top-he...-personal-boat

    Having been a career firefighter for 20 years, I see both sides of this. When I was on the line, I would have screamed bloody murder if some John Q. tried to tell us we couldn't wash our rigs on "our time." I remember some guys would work on car repairs and one guy even bringing in his airplane wing to work on it. Damned thing took up an entire empty bay. But this was always in the evening on personal time. That's what the public doesn't get. They think if we're not out on calls we should just be stored in a closet somewhere. No TV, no food, and by GOD we better not be sleeping. One guy spends his personal time reading a book or watching a movie and another one wants to wash his car. Is there really that much difference?

    As a chief now, however, I do see some of the PR side of it. It's the appearance we have to be concerned about. It's like the crews taking the huge ladder truck to the grocery store or sitting on the park bench out in front of the station. It can just look bad (depending on your community). Especially with all the pre-existing vitriol in Boston, I'd be very concerned if I were the chief if my guys did even the tiniest thing that could be misinterpreted by the public.
    Gone over to the dark side, eh? Too bad...

    Rigs out shopping: call it district familiarization and maintaining crew integrity. Use the opportunity to conduct publc realtions (what a novel concept! ) I used the opportunity when I was a company officer to educate John and Jane Q. Public about our FD while their kids sit in the rig aned play firefighter.

    Some of the older firehouses in the inner cities have no air conditioning at all... while the politicians (and some chiefs) sit in their climate controlled offices and dictate what we can or cannot do. Remind John and Jane Q. that is the firefighters are in quarters and even sitting in front of the firehouse.. they are there to respond to respond to emergencies... including the potential for theirs!

    I've had youth groups touring the firehouse and have some of the parents insist that they can use our weight training room because "as a taxpayer I pay for it"...
    ‎"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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    Posted by scarecrow

    We have a local FD that is taking a lot of heat from the public. All because they portrayed a poor image. Rest assured in the next contract mandatory staffing will go from 7 to 5. There will be no more ambulance chasing to drive up numbers. This improper attitude affects us all. It isn't just about you and your ignorance.
    Yeah yeah yeah, blah blah freaking blah... concentrate on your own little burg's FD when members don't know what a primary search is or insist that using a halligan bar or throwing a ground ladder is an advanced skill.
    ‎"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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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Gone over to the dark side, eh? Too bad...

    Rigs out shopping: call it district familiarization and maintaining crew integrity. Use the opportunity to conduct publc realtions (what a novel concept! ) I used the opportunity when I was a company officer to educate John and Jane Q. Public about our FD while their kids sit in the rig aned play firefighter.

    Some of the older firehouses in the inner cities have no air conditioning at all... while the politicians (and some chiefs) sit in their climate controlled offices and dictate what we can or cannot do. Remind John and Jane Q. that is the firefighters are in quarters and even sitting in front of the firehouse.. they are there to respond to respond to emergencies... including the potential for theirs!

    I've had youth groups touring the firehouse and have some of the parents insist that they can use our weight training room because "as a taxpayer I pay for it"...
    If by "darkside" you mean being forced to consider a wide variety of ways an action can be interpreted, I guess I have. It's certainly not a place I want to be sometimes, but I'm forced to because I answer to different people now even though I may know the complaint or snide comment in question is total BS. "That's my guy's personal time so mind your business," won't cut it in my community. One example I talked about in another thread was when our Mayor put an end to the daily grocery store stops with the ladder truck. When we were in the middle of a hard PR push to hire more people the Mayor started getting phone calls and letters to the editor saying, "They can't be that understaffed when I see them in the grocery store every day at 4:00 pm." When I went to protest about how the guys needed to buy food he asked me to consider how it looked when we were trying to hire more people. It only took me a few seconds of thinking to realize he was right. Once I explained it to the guys that way they also grudgingly understood.

    Darkside or whatever you want to call it, but I managed to get approval to build an $6 million dollar fire station in one of the worst economic climates our city has ever seen, and all without a peep of protest from the public (plus we got our new positions). It's little "gives" like the daily grocery store visits and sitting on benches in front of the station that make that possible. Again, that's the way it works in our community. Yours may work differently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post



    This also doesn't affect EastKyFF, MarcusKspn, rjtoc2, nmfire, and Ltmdepas3280. Your prejudice and bias is glowing in the dark. I would call you a moron but that would be degrading to all the morons in the world.
    The difference being they are all firefighters, while you on the other hand are not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    The use of a public facility or equipment for personal use is against the regulation for the U.S. Government. The State of NY also has the same regulations and laws. It is against the law and it is highly unethical to use a public facility for personal use. The argument could be made that since this is a public facility, and the public employees are using the facility for this purpose, then the public should also be allowed.

    I also disagree with this statement "If you have downtime, then you should be able to use the downtime however you wish." If you have downtime train, read an article or book pertaining to the job. Look for better ways to do the job. Go to the break room and relax. Even reading the forums and articles on Firehouse.com. Do research.

    You are being paid to do a job and the taxpayer wants you to do that job. I experience the same thing in my office. When we have our required work all done we are expected to do research and learn about new things. The computers and equipment that is owned by the State of NY is for official use only. We aren't even allowed to use them to read the news as many news sites get hacked and will download malicious software. Most recent was FoxNews.
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    I think maybe if it hadn't been a boat then less of a big deal would have been made of it. I mean, he had to drive his car to work, the car is there anyway, a slow day and in his downtime he decides to wash it. But face it, you don't just drag your boat to work with you. He obviously brought it there for the sole purpose of washing it on duty. I think that's what makes this story more of an issue to John Q. Public. Just sayin'....
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    i am going to wash my car now....
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc View Post
    I think maybe if it hadn't been a boat then less of a big deal would have been made of it. I mean, he had to drive his car to work, the car is there anyway, a slow day and in his downtime he decides to wash it. But face it, you don't just drag your boat to work with you. He obviously brought it there for the sole purpose of washing it on duty. I think that's what makes this story more of an issue to John Q. Public. Just sayin'....
    He might have planned leave after the end of his duty tour and head out on vacation, to, taking the boat with him.

    Roykirk1989... despite the screen name.. I wear 3 golden plungers on the job. There are far too may Chiefs who do a complete 180 once they get the gold badge and forgot where they came from.

    Once again.. it's PR. In my career, I have found that 99% of the complaints come from the 1% of the population who whine, complain, cry, gripe, bitch and kvetch about everything and anything. Life is too short to spend it as a mieseable bastard.

    A while back the CBS affiliate in Boston, Channel 4 did an "expose" on "firefighters shopping on the taxpayers dime"... at a supermarket in Somerville. What the "reporter" failed to mention is the fact that the supermarket, while over the city line, is just a few hundred feet from their firehouse, and that the nearest market in the city is way out of their response district. The mentioned the "ladder truck" when it was 32 Engine, and actually followed the guys around buying their food.. one of the Brothers had the unmitigated audacity to buy a tube of toothpaste while he was there ( note: this sarcasm)

    The station got lambasted royally, flooded with emails and phone calls from John and Jane Q. Public about this "non story"
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    The use of a public facility or equipment for personal use is against the regulation for the U.S. Government. The State of NY also has the same regulations and laws. It is against the law and it is highly unethical to use a public facility for personal use. The argument could be made that since this is a public facility, and the public employees are using the facility for this purpose, then the public should also be allowed.

    I also disagree with this statement "If you have downtime, then you should be able to use the downtime however you wish." If you have downtime train, read an article or book pertaining to the job. Look for better ways to do the job. Go to the break room and relax. Even reading the forums and articles on Firehouse.com. Do research.

    You are being paid to do a job and the taxpayer wants you to do that job. I experience the same thing in my office. When we have our required work all done we are expected to do research and learn about new things. The computers and equipment that is owned by the State of NY is for official use only. We aren't even allowed to use them to read the news as many news sites get hacked and will download malicious software. Most recent was FoxNews.


    I normally steer clear of responding to something this far off base, but this blanket statement is too much. The use of a Public Facility or Equipment for personal purposes is NOT against the law. If it were, ourJails would be filled beyond belief with really decent people who's crime consisted of GOING TO THE PARK, or other similar things....... Some Military bases have recreational facilities that include Shops AND TOOLS to work on your POV, and a Base that I'm familiar with has a Stable and Horses for Riding....... The idea that someone can not wash his PoV or whatever on his off or down time is crazy. And for the Record "off" or "down" time is when ALL the day's work AND TRAINING, are done.......
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    He might have planned leave after the end of his duty tour and head out on vacation, to, taking the boat with him.

    Roykirk1989... despite the screen name.. I wear 3 golden plungers on the job. There are far too may Chiefs who do a complete 180 once they get the gold badge and forgot where they came from.
    Well, if anything I've remained remarkably consistent from when I was on the floor. Even then (albeit different community) I didn't go sit out on the bench in front of the station because it just didn't feel right. Some guys would and inevitably at least once every couple shifts somebody would drive by and yell "nice to see my tax dollars at work!" I would have loved to go out there and kick back with the guys once in a while but obviously that community wasn't prepared to deal with the idea of firefighters having down time.

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    Post Ok, ok,.................

    I gotta tell this story........ In the early 60's our County was going thru the painful process of converting from an area of totally independent, totally Volunteer, organizations to a unified Combination Department. (We're not there yet, but we're working on it....) The County Commissioners hired a just retired "Big City" Battalion Chief to be the first "Director of Fire/Rescue Services" ("Fire Chief" was way off in the future) This "New Guy" was on the job a short time when he passed a Station and saw a person sitting on a bench in front, obviously asleep. Back at his Office, the Director had his "Office Person" call that Station to summon the Sleeping Person to the Office for a Butt Chewing session. Instead, the Director got a call from the County Commissioner that had hired him, telling him that the "Sleeper" was a Volunteer, not a Career Firefighter, and that he should forget it................. The "New Guy" didn't understand that in our area, it was common for folks at the Stations to "Lounge" outside when the Weather was good, and that the Community didn't complain, and they were happy that people were at the stations, ready to respond instead of waiting for home response crews. My Point??..... What might be a Big Problem at Department "A" might be perfectly OK at Department "B"........ One Size does NOT fit all..........
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roykirk1989 View Post
    Well, if anything I've remained remarkably consistent from when I was on the floor. Even then (albeit different community) I didn't go sit out on the bench in front of the station because it just didn't feel right. Some guys would and inevitably at least once every couple shifts somebody would drive by and yell "nice to see my tax dollars at work!" I would have loved to go out there and kick back with the guys once in a while but obviously that community wasn't prepared to deal with the idea of firefighters having down time.
    On the flip side, you have civilians like me who when they see the door open would be more likely to walk up and give the guys a box of fresh baked muffins or maybe some cherry almond coffeecake and tell them thanks. Even if you are on the tapayers dime, you are still entitled to breaks at work and to go to the store to shop for food. The boat washing is a nonissue to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cheffie View Post
    On the flip side, you have civilians like me who when they see the door open would be more likely to walk up and give the guys a box of fresh baked muffins or maybe some cherry almond coffeecake and tell them thanks. Even if you are on the tapayers dime, you are still entitled to breaks at work and to go to the store to shop for food. The boat washing is a nonissue to me.
    Cheffie... it's a non issue with the BFD, too.

    According to Steve McDonald, the BFD's PIO...
    Firefighters are allowed to use an open bay with the permission of the company officer.
    The boat washing pic was taken at Engine 41/Ladder 14 at 2300 hours (11:00 PM) by a "concerned citizen" on a cell phone as he drove by...

    He felt it wasn't right as "they just got a "big raise"....

    A raise that was the result of 4+ years without a contract....
    ‎"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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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    The difference being they are all firefighters, while you on the other hand are not.
    I see. So the only people affected by these things are Fire Fighters. It doesn't affect tax payers or administration at all. You need to look at the issue from many other angles besides the Fire Fighter pigeon hole.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    I normally steer clear of responding to something this far off base, but this blanket statement is too much. The use of a Public Facility or Equipment for personal purposes is NOT against the law. If it were, ourJails would be filled beyond belief with really decent people who's crime consisted of GOING TO THE PARK, or other similar things....... Some Military bases have recreational facilities that include Shops AND TOOLS to work on your POV, and a Base that I'm familiar with has a Stable and Horses for Riding....... The idea that someone can not wash his PoV or whatever on his off or down time is crazy. And for the Record "off" or "down" time is when ALL the day's work AND TRAINING, are done.......
    You are one of the more civil responders on these boards. So I found a few links for you
    What is misuse of Federal government property?
    Sec. 2635.704 Use of Government property.

    (a) Standard. An employee has a duty to protect and conserve
    Government property and shall not use such property, or allow its use, for other
    than authorized purposes.
    Misuse of Government Resources

    RULE: Government property may be used only for official and authorized purposes.

    WHAT USES ARE PERMITTED?

    * OFFICIAL USE: Directly related to and necessary for accomplishing your duties.
    * AUTHORIZED USE: Supportive of your duties or organizational mission (and limited incidental personal use on your own time and at no or minimal cost to the Government) and must be approved by your supervisor.
    * PROHIBITED USE: Unrelated to your duties, incurs significant cost to the Government, and/or has the potential for abuse or damage to DoD.
    Misuse of Position
    Employees may use Government property only for authorized purposes. Government property includes office supplies, telephones, computers, copiers and any other property purchased with Government funds.
    US Army Table 1-1: Table of Penalties for Various Offenses

    12. Misuse or abuse of Government Property
    a. Using Government property or Federal employees in a duty status for other than official purposes. Written reprimand to dismissal
    There are many others as well. Bottom line is most States and the Federal Government have Ethics laws that say "Employees may use Government property only for authorized purposes"

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