Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 21 to 36 of 36
Like Tree2Likes

Thread: Good ol' Boy System???

  1. #21
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    California
    Posts
    453

    Default

    Oops Jay, you are right I missed what you said. I confused your comments with another poster (sorry). In regards to outside evaluators I so fully believe in them. It's the most fair way to evaluate a department's candidates. It's fair and objective. Regardless of whether the department really likes one of their candidates, they do not get extra credit for being a "good guy". It's all about how they perform under pressure.

    Yes, this does lend itself to the department promoting someone who has been a less than stellar employee. Many departments have the "rule of three" where the FC can pass over someone on the list if he or she is not the right fit.

    By using inside evaluators, the department can hand pick the person thay want. As someone who is writing a promotional exam as we speak, it would be great to hand pick the people I want to hand a Captains badge to. We all have our favorites and that is simply not fair to the rest of the group.

    The whole reason the Civil Service was developed (as pointed out by FFFRed above) is to make it fair.

    If the department's favorite guy vapor locks during the test, maybe he wasn't the right person for the position.

    I don't profess to have the right answers and I know we are all passionate about the topic. I am interested to hear how others feel about it and how their department approaches the promotional process.
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    Aspiringfirefighters.com
    AspiringFireOfficers.com


  2. #22
    MembersZone Subscriber MrYuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    In my own little world
    Posts
    402

    Default

    This is one of those topics that will have firefighters disagreeing for eternity. I really think it all depends on the needs of the department at hand. Like FFFRED said, his system works well for his department, but doesn't work in fdinspector3's. Just like a civil service or seniority based promotion works well in some versus others. The fire service is such a strange profession whether it be career or volunteer in the sense that everyone ultimately strives to achieve the same goal, only the way of getting there varies dramatically.
    "Training doesn't make you a good fireman, fighting fire makes you a good fireman"
    http://thedarksideof911.blogspot.com/
    FTM-PTB-EGH
    IACOJ

  3. #23
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    35

    Default

    I am glad we have a civil service testing process in WV.. Yes sometimes good test takers climb the ranks quickly but atleast they have to test well. And not that buddy system...
    OUR PROCESS
    Those with the ability to test
    Written Test score plus seniority points...
    promote right down the list

  4. #24
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    24

    Lightbulb

    Lots of good information guys. Our department has used outside evaluators for larger assessment centers for the positions Capt. and Lt. We, however, have used inhouse officers for other positions. We have absolutely no test to take for any position (which I think is a problem). Per SOP's, "preference" is to be given to candidates who have the classes they are supposed to have for positions. BUT, what is "preference?" It most certainly did not happen last time I was in an assessment center (a mini-assessment center for a lower position).

    Those that have mentioned this being a morale killer are absolutely correct. For our small department, morale is at an unspeakable low, with individuals staying only because of the tough economy and the stability of our positions. Stuff like this doesn't only affect morale during promotions, it affects everyday operations because others, no matter how they may do something, it is never enough. The chosen ones can sit back and relax and be praised for doing so.

    We don't have promotions very often, so I have had a lot of time to think about this. I have thought about a combination of what would help promote those that is as fair as possible, though I know there are always flaws. First of all, I think some sort of testing should be involved. Essentially now, as long as you have the minimum years for a position, you can apply for it regardless of anything else (or short comings). My first thing would be a test, related to the position, to test into an assessment center. In my opinion, if you have a test to prepare for, you are constantly (or should be) studying and learning. This keeps you more current on things that can make you a better, safer firefighter. Whether that score would factor in the actual promotion...I can see both sides of it. I do believe it should count for something...maybe 20 point (out of 100).

    I like the giving some points for seniority/years of service. But only years above what are required for the position and I would impose a cap of 10. For the next 10 points, I would offer points for education (I know there are many who would disagree, but I think an associates degree, 5 points, or a bachelors degree, 10 points, deserve recognition). Thats 40!

    The next possibly 20 would come from training (and not basic training). This would be job specific and would likely cover training that is beyond mininum requirements. That would get you to a possible 60 total points leaving 40 for assessment centers (from outside evaluators), with the points being split up accordingly. I would possibly reserve some points for chief's discretion, not sure.

    To me, this seems like a somewhat fair way do promote, and considerably much more fair than what is done at my department now, which includes an assessment center only, with only the outcomes being known. No one is told any score at all, even the winner. Is it customary for other departments not to tell candidates scores or even how well or poorly they did??? This allows for training, experience, and knowledge of the job to play a role in the promotion process. While it wouldn't prevent a chosen one to be promoted, it would help to lessen the chance of them jumping someone who has more experience, training, and education than they do. It puts the ball in each candidates court where 60 points related to things they have direct control of.

    What do you guys and gals think? Anyone do something similar to this? I know this is a fictional representation, but I think its something that would get us in the right direction.

  5. #25
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    Here, There, Everywhere
    Posts
    4,191

    Default

    I'm not sure I understand what you are suggesting here.

    A. By the time one is taking an exam for officer that said firefighter one would think has been to is share of jobs and can handle stress as well as making decisions. Im not understanding how one can test for a company officers role yet not have at least some basic experience of being able to make decisions in fireground situations. If this is the case, the respective fire dept doing this isn't taking advantage of their firemen's skills and abilities and is preparing them poorly for advancement by not delegating some decisions.

    B. If one has a firm grasp on policy and what procedures are to be taken under whatever circumstances can be imagined there is little that person must do at a fire other than apply what they know at jobs which is little different than what they are doing now as a fireman. The officer only serves to guide when the tactics to be employed aren't clear and supervise to make sure the firemen didn't miss anything in the procedures that they already known by heart themselves.

    While I'm sure there are a few idiots who slip thru so is such the case for interviewing with a bunch of chiefs or whomever from wherever that may or may not have a clue themselves. The people they choose in my experience are just as prone to being sub-par and even much more so as many are picked because of personal bias on the part of the evaluators and not on competency.

    At least with Objective Civil Service one can know that the person didn't get the job from favortism. Which is obviously present in the systems which some of you gravitate towards.

  6. #26
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!
    Posts
    13,575

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    I think this is where Paul and I disagree to a point. I like the idea of having outside evaluators the only problem being this.....Candidates who are good test takers and can do great on simulators. Get them out in the field and they get vapor lock and burn down perfectly good buildings because of their lack of confidence in the field. I'm not saying it happens a lot but it does happen and those of us who have worked with these individuals can weed them out during the process and an outsider just puts them at the top of their list.
    Bingo!

    Retired Boston Fire Commissioner Leo Stapleton said it best in his book "Thirty Years on the Line" (or was it in "Commish"?)..
    You only have to be smart a few times in your career.
    ‎"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

  7. #27
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    24

    Default

    If you are a better qualified candidate that keeps getting passed over, is there any advice anyone has on how to finally make it to a promotion?
    Last edited by FloridaFF3; 03-14-2012 at 02:29 PM.

  8. #28
    MembersZone Subscriber Chief_Roy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    197

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FloridaFF3 View Post
    If you are a better qualified candidate that keeps getting passed over, is there any advice anyone has on how to finally make it to a promotion?
    When I came out #1 on my first promotional test, I was ecstatic. A few months later, when they jumped over me to take #5, I was devastated. It was the first time in the department's history somebody had been passed over like that. Not exactly something I want to be remembered for in the department's history books. The worst part was nobody would ever tell me why I was passed over. I resolved to work 10 times as hard and to beef up on all the certifications and training I could find. A few years later I took the test again. This time I came out #2. The #1 guy was a jerk who liked to regale the shift at the morning coffee table about what an idiot the chief was. Most of the department would have run him over in the parking lot if they thought they could get away with it. I figured, "I've got it cinched this time." We all know what they did by now, right? They promoted #1.

    Right or wrong, the department had decided I was somebody they didn't want in a leadership role. Who knows why. I probably stepped on somebody's toes years previously and didn't even remember it. Finally coming to this realization, I decided to quit as soon as I could. I beefed up my education, and started applying at other departments, and soon enough I found the perfect place and I couldn't be happier.

    So, to your original question. Try to find out why you get passed over and address those areas as dutifully as you can. If it's truly a good-old-boy problem (which is what I think I ran up against), it may not help. At least you'll know you did everything you could. Then at some point you'll need to decide whether you can be content staying in the position that somebody else has predetermined for you, or whether you want to step outside your comfort zone and look for opportunities elsewhere.

  9. #29
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
    Posts
    10,527

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by deputychief1441 View Post
    I am glad we have a civil service testing process in WV.. Yes sometimes good test takers climb the ranks quickly but atleast they have to test well. And not that buddy system...
    OUR PROCESS
    Those with the ability to test
    Written Test score plus seniority points...
    promote right down the list
    Passing a test and waiting for your name to come up on the seniority list is not the way to promote. A career department in this area is finding out it can produce some very crappy officers.

    Unfortuantly under civil service, it is the only way to promote for just about every combo and career department in the state, except for those too small or too large to be covered under civil service. Since we are going that route, not our choice b y the way, we will have to start promoting career members in the same crappy fashion.

    Minimum training requirements which can be made on department time. Additional training bonus points which have to be completed on a member's off time. Testing. And a very limited number of points for seniority.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 03-16-2012 at 01:47 PM.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

  10. #30
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    29

    Default

    I understand there are a lot of "good ole boy" systems out there today, mainly in smaller departments. I have watched my department transfer away from the good ole boy system and seriously work on implementing a fair system in promoting the proper people for the position. We have had some issues and the right person has not always been appointed for the job.

    I have a few thoughts, especially being that I am preparing for our next promotional process as we speak...

    1. The "good ole boy system" argument is an easy out in finding blame for the reason you were not promoted. I have used it in the past to justify my reason for not making the next promotion but I have come to realize that I didn't receive the position because I was not the best candidate for the job. Therefore, I have been working extremely hard to be the best of the best for the next round.

    2. Be prepared and work toward making yourself the obvious choice. You can't just walk in there doing the bare minimum or counting on your "experience" over the past 5, 10, 15 years. You have to put an actual effort into it showing that you are the best. One thing will put you above the rest real quick... train without being told to train.

    3. When you go in for interviews and such... pitch the entire time why you are the best candidate for the position. If you can't sit there and think of reason after reason and have examples to back them up right now... then you probably aren't ready for the position, or someone else is going to appear to be the better candidate.

    If you view your department of having any credit then most likely the good ole boy system is probably not as prevalent as you may think. Procedures are put in place to prevent a lot of the old school ways of promoting people from reoccurring.

    OR... call your local news paper and have them look into it. Once you are deemed eligible to enter the promotional process your records become public records and they can do their own investigation as to whether the best choice for the position was really picked.

  11. #31
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    12

    Default

    The easiest way around the "good ol' boy system" is to simply study your butt off. Write the highest written score, make sure your practical portion is flawless and make sure your interview process blows their socks off! The last promotion exam I took my evaluation was significantly less that what it should have been, I simply used that as motivation. I went from studying 3 hours a day to literally becoming obsessed about the the whole thing and after the eval came out I started studying 10 hours a day! Needless to say that resulted in top written score and top practical score for the MPO exam. I literally took that "Good ol' boy system" and removed any possibility of them using it right out of their hands. There's no better satisfaction than doing that.....

  12. #32
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    24

    Default

    How do you get around this part of the good ol' boy system. Our last promotions had an assessment center for several officers. Because of the promotion of the officers (which included some good ol' boys), that left a vacancy for another senior position on a shift. That vacancy was also supposed to be filled from the assessment center, as it has been in the past. This was not the case this time. With no reason given, a candidate that was not allowed to even be a part of the assessment center because "they were not ready to promote" magically was named to this senior position with no additional testing, assessment, or interviews for him or anyone else. Baring in mind also that this candidate has less training that all that went through the assessment center doesn't help things. Thats the unfortunate part of having a small department (32 paid, 3 stations), it is hard to just hide these things and cover them up.

  13. #33
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    24

    Default

    Here's a situation for you: A guy gets promoted without even going through the assessment center. --This pretty well negates a lot of things mentioned about being prepared for the assessment center and such from above. We had a position open up for which we had to apply then interview for. From the interviews, only the better candidates advanced to the assessment center (as it should be). Then, when the assessment center was done, one promotion was made from the assessment center and then the second promotion was given to someone who wasn't allowed to be a part of the assessment center--that's right, someone who didn't even make the cut to get to the assessment center got promoted over everyone else who did participate. To make it worse, this guy can't even pass the classes required for the position that other candidates have already passed and exceeded the requirements for the position. This was kicked morale in the rear end! It is rewarding mediocrity at its best!

  14. #34
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    347

    Default

    Some people have the "birthright" to certain positions.

    Recently applied for a county 911/corrections officer position. Had prior fire service dispatching, military service and corrections experience. No typing test or civil service test.

    I am also a partially disabled vet and applied under our state statute defined veterans preference laws.

    No dice. Position awarded to elected official's daughter-in-law. She was not a veteran and no emergency services experience.

    Had the state vets officer check out situation and pretty much ruled in my favor. County cut me a for a portion of a years salary. Not much left over, after paying an attorney for 40% of settlement.

    Nepotism in county hiring, if I ever knew it. State Vet Rep was very disappointed, too. Didn't want the money. Wanted the job.

    Is there nepostisn, buddy-buddy, etc. hiring? Yes there is.

  15. #35
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Paul,

    You said one needed "department involvement" to be successful. I think I know what you meant, but would you please clarify that.

  16. #36
    Forum Member dfwfirefighter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    The Lone Star State
    Posts
    350

    Default

    In theory, an assessment center utilizing assessors (of equal or higher rank than the rank be evaluated) is a great idea. The issues that arise include: 1) departmental involvement, 2) the assessors themselves, and 3) candidate preparation.

    Departmental involvement is needed to ensure accurate and realistic scenarios that measure what is expected of a person testing for the assessed rank. If someone with little or no knowledge of what is expected of a particular organization's members develops the assessment scenarios, we've done nothing but create a "dog & pony show" that wastes everyone's time.

    The assessors themselves are another key issue. This involves every aspect of their participation but especially their training to enable them to evaluate candidates of a particular jurisdiction. What is expected in the "assessed" town may not be the norm in the assessor's town which could lead to bias (both intentional and unintentional). Another issue that arises is the motivation for a particular assessor's participation. Some want to help ensure capable candidates are promoted while others have agendas based on politics such as racial, gender, or other issues.

    Candidate preparation is key to successful assessment process. Many times, it appears that promotional processes exist for the people running the process (instead of identifying the best candidates). Candidates must be given CLEAR instructions about "what" must be done to be a successful. Likewise, they must be given constructive feedback afterwards to ensure they know why they did well (or not so well) for personal development. Keeping the process (expectations, evaluation, and feedback) a big secret does nothing but frustrate people and ruin morale.

    It is has been said that the assessment process is a big "act" and you must become both an actor and a salesman to be successful at playing the "game". If that is truly the mindset in developing an assessment process, it is doomed for failure from the onset.
    Last edited by dfwfirefighter; 06-19-2013 at 07:44 AM.
    DFW



    "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Pump and Roll
    By canuck1 in forum Apparatus Innovation
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 04-03-2007, 01:33 PM
  2. N.F.S.I.M.S -VS- I.C (Brunacini Way)
    By JAFA62 in forum Fireground Tactics
    Replies: 187
    Last Post: 12-22-2006, 10:41 PM
  3. Dangerous Building Form for CAD
    By PITT8TRUCK in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 10-05-2006, 01:44 PM
  4. Grants for portable radios
    By dmleblanc in forum Federal FIRE ACT Grants & Funding
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 04-17-2006, 01:49 PM
  5. Reverse 911 System
    By captstanm1 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 06-27-2002, 02:31 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts