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  1. #101
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    I may be wandering off track a little ---- but it seems like some people accept (some even gleefully) the fact that an area is sliding backwards.
    I refuse to accept that the best days of the USA are behind us. 20 years ago replacing full time with volunteers would create a firestorm (no pun intended)
    It was considered a sign of progress when a city went full time. An area laying off fireman is just a symptom of a bigger problem. We all have to work harder at changing our economy back to a productive one. Buy American products whenever possible - vote - try and teach a work ethic to your children. Rant over

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    I wonder if the town of Neosho is going after the tax scofflaws, unpaid tickets and such... or is it easier just to lay off personnel and let those people of the hook.

    Have you ever noticed most of the people who don't pay their real estate taxes suddenly come up with the money and pay in full just before the property is to be taken by the community for nonpayment of the taxes?
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    Really doesn't matter what we say here as the problem won't be solved by a bunch of firefighters and yardbirds chatting it up on the internet.

    In a city of 11,000, the idea that the department has to be all or primarily career simply makes no sense, but that's just me.

    I guess to me hiring folks isn't necessarily progress. progress is providing effective fire protection in a cost effective manner, not how many paid guys you have on the roster, but again, that's probably just me.

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    WRONG! Dress it up however you want to, but if you lay off personnel and bring other people in to do the work they performed, then you HAVE REPLACED THEM!
    I don't know - that is a very fine distinction to make.

    The case here is that the funding for the FD was cut in half for the employees of said FD. This choice was not made by the chief or any FD personnel. The city made the call on who lost thier jobs.

    Now - its up to the Chief of the FD (and the PD really) to figure out how continue to function with the new economic realities. We can guess avenues to improve service all day but the fact remains, as of now, the baseline of service is much less than it was a month ago. The question is what can be done to try to improve that new level of service.

    I would not call it 'replacing' people unless the guys who cut the jobs also dictated to use POC or volunteers. As long as its the Chief of the FD, who didn't get a say in the cuts, who figures out how to make the bad situation better I see it as just that - working to make a bad situation better.

    For the record - I do think its a step backwards but I understand the econmic realities. Ask the guys in Detroit or Gary about it. If money is not there, its simply not there. If the politicians want to allocate it differently than you think - well, as long as they are elected each election cycle, the citizens agree with them - not you. Again - simple realities that you don't have to like but ultimately do have to accept.
    Last edited by The nots so new FNG; 08-11-2010 at 09:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The nots so new FNG View Post
    I don't know - that is a very fine distinction to make.

    The case here is that the funding for the FD was cut in half for the employees of said FD. This choice was not made by the chief or any FD personnel. The city made the call on who lost thier jobs.

    ..........

    I would not call it 'replacing' people unless the guys who cut the jobs also dictated to use POC or volunteers.
    It doesn't matter who makes the decision or if the employees' departure was voluntary as long as other people are brought in to do work that those employees previously did. The end result is still employees being replaced by volunteers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The nots so new FNG View Post
    I don't know - that is a very fine distinction to make.

    The case here is that the funding for the FD was cut in half for the employees of said FD. This choice was not made by the chief or any FD personnel. The city made the call on who lost thier jobs.

    Now - its up to the Chief of the FD (and the PD really) to figure out how continue to function with the new economic realities. We can guess avenues to improve service all day but the fact remains, as of now, the baseline of service is much less than it was a month ago. The question is what can be done to try to improve that new level of service.

    I would not call it 'replacing' people unless the guys who cut the jobs also dictated to use POC or volunteers. As long as its the Chief of the FD, who didn't get a say in the cuts, who figures out how to make the bad situation better I see it as just that - working to make a bad situation better.

    For the record - I do think its a step backwards but I understand the econmic realities. Ask the guys in Detroit or Gary about it. If money is not there, its simply not there. If the politicians want to allocate it differently than you think - well, as long as they are elected each election cycle, the citizens agree with them - not you. Again - simple realities that you don't have to like but ultimately do have to accept.
    If the powers that be come to the conclusion that they must cut half of the personnel at the fire department, then that means that the citizens must deal with a cut in the service and live with lower expectations. If the citizens and politicians are fine with that, then the career members must live with it and adjust their tactics and strategies to reflect the loss of staffing.

    BUT

    If the city is making these cuts operating under the idea that they can find cheaper help, then that is just wrong. It doesn't happen in the school districts, doesn't really happen in law enforcement (many would be willing to 'volunteer' to be a police officer once in awhile) or virtually any other government service.

    The city and it's residents cannot have their cake and eat it too. They haven't made a BMW yet on a Kia budget.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Really doesn't matter what we say here as the problem won't be solved by a bunch of firefighters and yardbirds chatting it up on the internet.

    In a city of 11,000, the idea that the department has to be all or primarily career simply makes no sense, but that's just me.

    I guess to me hiring folks isn't necessarily progress. progress is providing effective fire protection in a cost effective manner, not how many paid guys you have on the roster, but again, that's probably just me.
    Can you not read? I have posted more than once that they cover the city of 11,000 and fire district of 90 square miles with at least the same population if not more. They ARE combination and CANNOT get and retain volunteers. They have tried to keep volunteers but can't, they still have one volunteer on the roster. Add to that they don't have the money to train and outfit volunteers now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post
    Can you not read? I have posted more than once that they cover the city of 11,000 and fire district of 90 square miles with at least the same population if not more. They ARE combination and CANNOT get and retain volunteers. They have tried to keep volunteers but can't, they still have one volunteer on the roster. Add to that they don't have the money to train and outfit volunteers now.

    Yes, I can read.

    And even if the do cover another 11K in the area outside of the city, that's still only 22K total and well within the realm of a combination department with a large volunteer component. I have seen all-volunteer departments and many combo departments with a large volunteer staff cover a population of that size, and 2x-3x times larger, quite effectivly.

    Look at Bloomington, MN as example, where they cover a population of almost 90 K and a daytime population above 110K with a volunteer department (that does recieve an incentive package).

    As far as not being able to keep volunteers on the roster, I'm not going to speculate why, since I have no info on the department beyond what you have told me. The fact is there are many reasons why a combo department can't keep people, and one of them is population and community demographics. If that's the case, I understand.

    The department also may not be active in recruiting volunteers or not using all the tools available in the recruiting toolbox. If that's the reason, it is the department's fault.

    However, there are other reasons why a combo department may not be able to keep volunteers. The include open hostility towards them by the Chief, officers and/or firefighters, lack of involvement in everyday operations, lack of in-house and external training opportuntites, lack of responsibility, the fact that they may be not be able to advance in the department and the lack of being able to have gear and radios replaced promptly, which is often used as a subtle way to drive out the volunteers.

    I'm not saying this is the case here, but I have seen all of the above used when it's been decided by the Chief, command staff, line officers and/or the firefighters that they no longer want the volunteers and want to hire staff. It has happened in the last area I served and is happening on several departments in the area I currently live.

    Again, not saying it's the case, but there very well could be a variety of reasons why they don't have volunteers.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 08-12-2010 at 05:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Look at Bloomington, MN as example, where they cover a population of almost 90 K and a daytime population above 110K with a volunteer department (that does recieve an incentive package).
    Do you think they would be there if they received no "incentive"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acklan View Post
    Do you think they would be there if they received no "incentive"?
    Their "incentive" is actually called "compensation" as they are a POC department and not a true volunteer fire department.

    From their website:
    Are the Bloomington firefighters directly paid or compensated?

    Yes. You receive $65 per month on-call pay plus $5 per fire call and $4.12 per drill attended.


    http://www.ci.bloomington.mn.us/city...ire/hiring.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Yes, I can read.

    And even if the do cover another 11K in the area outside of the city, that's still only 22K total and well within the realm of a combination department with a large volunteer component.
    I don't think anybody is arguing that and apparently they don't have a "large volunteer component".

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    Their "incentive" is actually called "compensation" as they are a POC department and not a true volunteer fire department.

    From their website:
    Are the Bloomington firefighters directly paid or compensated?

    Yes. You receive $65 per month on-call pay plus $5 per fire call and $4.12 per drill attended.


    http://www.ci.bloomington.mn.us/city...ire/hiring.htm
    Gee.. that sounds like, like .... A PAID FIRE FIGHTER!!! Please say it isn't so!

  13. #113
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    [QUOTE=LaFireEducator;1196300][B]

    The fact is the full-time staff in any combo department is likely to be trained to a higher level on average than the volunteer component. Why? because it's thier job. They train on-duty. They are generally sent to academies for entry-level training. They are available to be sent to outside training during the week, while being paid, while the majority of the volunteer component are at thier full-time jobs.

    If the career component in a combo department is not trained to a higher level, the training staff or training officer needs to be fired.



    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Then I take you, since you beleive that laying off paid staff and replacing them with volunteers is "going in the wrong direction" that paid staffing is somehow superior to volunteer staffing?

    Sorry, i don't agree. But you are entitled to your opinion.



    Looks like you said it yourself.

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acklan View Post
    Do you think they would be there if they received no "incentive"?
    $65 a month works out to about $800 for the year, which probably covers the gas, the ruined clothes and the food they order out while at the station.

    Hardly a "paid firefighter".

    That $5 per call and $4 per training hardly puts them min the "pad firefighter" category either.

    There is nothing wrong with compensating your volunteers to a limited extent.

    It probably costs a couple of K per year per volunteers. Let's say that 3 volunteers equals 1 career firefighter. So based on that we are talking 6K v. 60K. Seems like ahell of a deal to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    $65 a month works out to about $800 for the year, which probably covers the gas, the ruined clothes and the food they order out while at the station.

    Hardly a "paid firefighter".

    That $5 per call and $4 per training hardly puts them min the "paid firefighter" category either.
    I believe I asked this before, or something close to it, but you never answered. What is the compensation threshold in which one moves from the "volunteer" category to the "paid" category? At what $$ amount per hour or per call does a person become a "paid firefighter"?

    There is nothing wrong with compensating your volunteers to a limited extent.
    There's nothing wrong with compensating them to any extent in my book.

    It probably costs a couple of K per year per volunteers. Let's say that 3 volunteers equals 1 career firefighter. So based on that we are talking 6K v. 60K. Seems like ahell of a deal to me.
    Nobody is arguing that this arrangement isn't a "hell of a deal" for the community, at least from a financial standpoint. However, calling them "volunteers" doesn't seem appropriate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    $65 a month works out to about $800 for the year, which probably covers the gas, the ruined clothes and the food they order out while at the station.

    Hardly a "paid firefighter".

    That $5 per call and $4 per training hardly puts them min the "pad firefighter" category either.

    There is nothing wrong with compensating your volunteers to a limited extent.

    It probably costs a couple of K per year per volunteers. Let's say that 3 volunteers equals 1 career firefighter. So based on that we are talking 6K v. 60K. Seems like ahell of a deal to me.
    You are right, it is a great deal for the community. But no matter how you color it, it is still pay. Seems odd that you rail aganist paying a living wage for fire fighters while you receive a full salary and benefits for the same job.

  17. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    $65 a month works out to about $800 for the year, which probably covers the gas, the ruined clothes and the food they order out while at the station.

    Hardly a "paid firefighter".

    That $5 per call and $4 per training hardly puts them min the "pad firefighter" category either.

    There is nothing wrong with compensating your volunteers to a limited extent.

    It probably costs a couple of K per year per volunteers. Let's say that 3 volunteers equals 1 career firefighter. So based on that we are talking 6K v. 60K. Seems like ahell of a deal to me.

    Using the figures on their website and based on the 2008 numbers... It appears the brass gets paid quite well... I figured out to an average $211K a year.

    http://www.ci.bloomington.mn.us/city...get/budget.htm
    Last edited by DeputyChiefGonzo; 08-13-2010 at 08:00 AM.
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    I believe I asked this before, or something close to it, but you never answered. What is the compensation threshold in which one moves from the "volunteer" category to the "paid" category? At what $$ amount per hour or per call does a person become a "paid firefighter"?

    Reasonable question.

    I would define a paid firefighter as someone who makes enough to support their basic needs. Basically their primary income via a regular paycheck, including seasonals such as wildland firefighters.

    This does not include POC as their checks are usually irregular, often below minimum wage, depending on run volume, and most often supplement a primary non-firefighting income.

    POCs that make $10-12 or more are debatable.

    You are right, it is a great deal for the community. But no matter how you color it, it is still pay. Seems odd that you rail aganist paying a living wage for fire fighters while you receive a full salary and benefits for the same job.

    Where did I ever rail against firefighters making a living wage?

    I have discussed the presence of paid firefighters in communities which should clearly be able to support an all volunteer department or primarily volunteer department.
    The fact is it's not the public's job to provide firefighting jobs. Career firefighters should be in place in comm unties that have a run volume that require career staffing, or in smaller communities where maintaining a volunteer force has become impractical after a legitimate attempt has been made at recruiting and maintaining volunteers have failed using a package of lower cost (when compared to career) incentives have failed.

    The bottom line is a primarily combo or all volunteer firefighting force in low and moderate call volume areas if far more practical and cost efficient than a career force. It's the obligation of the government to provide firefighting services at the lowest cost possible.

    This really isn't about me. My department identified what they felt were public education, training, pre-planning and admin needs that were not being handled fully by the volunteer membership and offered me a job. These things, with the exception of pub ed was being handled by the Deputy Chief. Because of this the Deputy Chief was not able to do the planning and other operational/admin tasks expected by the Chief.

    If they decided tomorrow that the need was no longer there, I would have no issue with seeking employment elsewhere.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 08-13-2010 at 09:28 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    It doesn't matter who makes the decision or if the employees' departure was voluntary as long as other people are brought in to do work that those employees previously did. The end result is still employees being replaced by volunteers.
    I see your take but don't like calling it "replacing". Tel the general public you can replace the FT firefighters with volunteers and they'll be in favor. Tell them you're eliminating FT firefighters they might ask some questions.

    The general masses won't understand how many vollies it takes to replace a career member, but they will firmly grasp the monetary figures. They won't grasp slowed response times during hard times, but they will grasp no response. It's one thing to have a decent volume of well trained volunteers as is the case in the DC burbs and around them, but in most cases if this were true the career dept's would be already be a fraction of their current size as they'd never have grown if the combo system was a functional reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    I see your take but don't like calling it "replacing". Tel the general public you can replace the FT firefighters with volunteers and they'll be in favor. Tell them you're eliminating FT firefighters they might ask some questions.

    The general masses won't understand how many vollies it takes to replace a career member, but they will firmly grasp the monetary figures. They won't grasp slowed response times during hard times, but they will grasp no response. It's one thing to have a decent volume of well trained volunteers as is the case in the DC burbs and around them, but in most cases if this were true the career dept's would be already be a fraction of their current size as they'd never have grown if the combo system was a functional reality.
    I would agree regarding the PR angle and would pursue the "eliminated" course if this were my situation to deal with. The use of "replaced" came up mainly due to the assertion that this department should just find some volunteers to "fill the gap" left by the elimination of the career positions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    I believe I asked this before, or something close to it, but you never answered. What is the compensation threshold in which one moves from the "volunteer" category to the "paid" category? At what $$ amount per hour or per call does a person become a "paid firefighter"?

    Reasonable question.

    I would define a paid firefighter as someone who makes enough to support their basic needs. Basically their primary income via a regular paycheck, including seasonals such as wildland firefighters.

    This does not include POC as their checks are usually irregular, often below minimum wage, depending on run volume, and most often supplement a primary non-firefighting income.

    POCs that make $10-12 or more are debatable.
    Since I asked a "reasonable question", I think I should've gotten a reasonable answer to that question. You pretty much dodged actually answering it with this ambiguous response.

    So using your definition, my department's part-time FFs appear to not be "paid firefighters" since they don't make enough to support their (and family's) "basic needs" and for most it's not their "primary income" even though they do get a regular paycheck and paid an hourly rate above $12. Interesting.

    What you are describing for the most part is also known as a "career firefighter". "Career firefighters" make a living with the job. "Paid firefighters" get paid to do or for doing the job. Getting paid $5 per call doesn't qualify a person as a "volunteer", it just makes them an under-paid firefighter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    It's the obligation of the government to provide appropriate firefighting services at a reasonable cost.
    I fixed your statement for you.

    If your original statement were true, we'd be seeing a lot of 1 fire truck volunteer FDs. After all, wouldn't that be the "lowest cost possible" firefighting services?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    I fixed your statement for you.

    If your original statement were true, we'd be seeing a lot of 1 fire truck volunteer FDs. After all, wouldn't that be the "lowest cost possible" firefighting services?
    I like your statement, though "appropriate" leeaves a lot of wiggle room for interpretation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    I like your statement, though "appropriate" leeaves a lot of wiggle room for interpretation.
    Unlike yours which appears to only consider cost factors.

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