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    Default If your officers are not elected, how are they placed?

    In another thread, it was mentioned that their officers are not elected, but the chief chooses them. I would like to see something like this, but my small mind cant get a handle on how this works. It seems it is almost a chicken and egg process. In the example above, how is the chief selected? If you do not elect officers, please let me know how you place them and if it works better for you.

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    On my #1 POC FD, the chief, assistant chief, secretary and treasurer are elected by the members of the department. The chief elect then has his name go before the village board who approve or disapprove his placement as chief. The captain, lieutenants, training officer and safety officer are all appointed by the chief.

    On my POC FD#2, the chief, assistant chiefs, captain, lieutenants, secetary, and treasurer are all elected positions. The safety officer and training officer are appointed by the chief.

    I think that a better idea is criteria for each position that includes job description, necessary skills and knowledge needed to apply, and testing for the position. Thisn eliminates the possibility of good old boy officers elected because they are friends with everyone, or friends of the chief.
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    Our department elects the chief, president, treasurer, and secretary, along with three members at large for the Board of Directors. We form a nominating committee in October who presents a proposed slate of officers at the November meeting. We'll take nominations from the floor, and if there aren't any(it's very rare for anyone to nominate anyone from the floor), the slate of officers in voted in. They take office effective January 1.

    The assistant chief, both captains, and both lieutenants are appointed by the chief. However, it's tradition that the AC is appointed first, and then the chief and AC will confer before the line officers are appointed. We have little turnover in our officer ranks.

    I've been in two other departments that voted all of their officers in, and frankly, I didn't much care for it. It seemed like the folks getting voted in weren't always the best fit for the position, and often times, many of the line officers didn't get along. When there's dissention at the officer level, it always trickles down.

    I've heard the arguement that the risk of having the officers appointed by the chief is that the chief could simply appoint his friends without regard to thier qualifications for the position. While that's true (and likely happens in other departments), we feel like that if we trust the person enough to vote him in as the chief, then we have to trust his judgement in the appointment of the line officers as well.
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    In this day and age, electing officers is really dangerous business. The elected officers are done by popularity, whether you want to admit that or not. You need a knowledge based testing system of some sort. Whether that includes a written test, hands on skills, simluated incidents or anything else you can think of. The process of placing officers should also be unbiased and be done with the assistance of outside agencies or people. This may not seem like a good idea at the time, but you are trying to get the right people in the right positions. If the person that is placed into the position of an officer is everyones best friend, that does not mean that they have the experience to run an incident, nor does it mean should they have to that they will be able to discipline that same friend that put them in the position to start with.
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    County fire chief is appointed by the County Mayor and until recently was also the individual who was the County Director of Emergency Services. Now it's the Deputy Director. County Chief appoints District Chief and District Deputy Chief for each of the 6 districts/stations in the county. District Chief appoints Captains and Lieutenants for each station. The County Chief then has veto power on the Captain/Lieutenant slots.

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    We elect the Chief, Assistant Chief and 2 Deputy Chiefs every year. We also elect the Presedent, Vice President, Treasurer and a board of directors. There are minimum standards that the operational officers have to meet. These are set by the county and the individual departments may have stricter requirements if they want. The Chiefs then select the lower line officers who also must meet county standards. Once the officer line-up is selected, the names and documentation showing that they meet the standards goes to the county and Chief's council for approval.

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    We nominate the Chief, 1st and 2nd Assistants to the board of fire commissioners, who then usually rubber stamp our choices. I suppose that if a chief had generated some bad blood with the commissioners that they might send the nominations back (as provided for in state law), but it doesn't happen often much of anywhere.

    We elect our engineer foreman - who is in charge of the apparatus and, per our bylaws, is fourth in command.

    Prez, VP, Secretary, and Treasurer are elected.

    Captains are selected by the chiefs, usually one per apparatus. Their primary responsibility is more logistical than command, though. Rather like a truck foreman.

    There's been talk of merging the two fire departments in our district, but the rank and file don't think much of the idea. If we were to do so, I've advocated that the commissioners select a chief via an application/resume process, with a couple of deputy/assistant chiefs selected for and by each station.
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    My department works this way. Our Chief is elected by majority vote of members. Once the Chief is selected he appoints officers. We are in the process of getting away from the popularity contest and going towards who is most certified/trained for the position.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanK63 View Post
    My department works this way. Our Chief is elected by majority vote of members. Once the Chief is selected he appoints officers. We are in the process of getting away from the popularity contest and going towards who is most certified/trained for the position.
    While certification and training are VERY important, there are other factors such as leadership and judgement that should be factored in as well. (We all know a guy that would be great at writing the book, but couldn't actually do anything in the book)

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    There are qualifications/standards/requirements for every position. We have been electing officers top to bottom for 126 years. Must not be that bad of a system.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    While certification and training are VERY important, there are other factors such as leadership and judgement that should be factored in as well. (We all know a guy that would be great at writing the book, but couldn't actually do anything in the book)
    Yes that is a very big factor too. I'm just glad we are starting to get headed in the right direction and away from popularity within the company.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    There are qualifications/standards/requirements for every position. We have been electing officers top to bottom for 126 years. Must not be that bad of a system.
    It may be working just fine for your FD. But to say you have been doing it for 126 years means nothing really. It could mean it is a great system or it could mean that for 126 years you have been making the same mistake. You know, like 200 years of tradition unimpeded by progress.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    It may be working just fine for your FD. But to say you have been doing it for 126 years means nothing really. It could mean it is a great system or it could mean that for 126 years you have been making the same mistake. You know, like 200 years of tradition unimpeded by progress.
    Methinks that it has a lot to do with the culture of the individual fire department. If they've kept high standards for their officers through the years, as a matter of pride, then it wouldn't surprise me to find that they've had good luck with the system.

    The problem comes when the FD is chiefly a social organization (yep, they're around) and being elected makes one the high mucky-muck in said social organization. Firefighting be danged...
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    In both my combo and volunteer departments, the Chief is appointed by the Board of Commissioners, and all the other officers are appointed by the Chief.

    That being said, my previous department elected the Chief, Deputy Chief and Asst Chief. The Captains and LTs were appointed by the Chief. In all honesty, in all cases the members generally voted in the most qualified person.
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    We need to work towards not electing officers and had recognized this. We had agreed that the chief and asst chief would appoint captains, but could not agree on how to appoint the chiefs. This input has been a great benefit. Thanks

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    We are a smaller volunteer department. The Chief, Asst Chief and Captain are all voted on by the voting body of the department. After they take office, the chief then will appoint the LT's.

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    I am on a Paid on call Department, and our board of trustees picks our Chief, and then our Chief would pick the (2) Assistant Chiefs, and the (2) Captains, then the board of trustees would approve who he picks.

    Our Lieutenants(3) are nominated and picked by the firefighters.
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    We have some positions that are elected. The others we have an exam and interview for the position. Our last lieutenant position was filled this way. It's something new we started up this last year. So far it's worked good.
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    Our Fire Chief is selected by the District Board of Trustees. From there, Chief selects his officers. There is no voting on Officer positions. The only positions voted on by the members are the Secretary and Treasurer, who do not have any fire-ground authority.

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    Our Chief is selected by our city manager and voted on by city council. Officer positions are posted as they become available and a written test followed by an oral interview conducted with officers from surrounding departments by all candidates who meet a minimum criteria. Total of written versus oral and highest score gets it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianB35 View Post
    Our Chief is selected by our city manager and voted on by city council. Officer positions are posted as they become available and a written test followed by an oral interview conducted with officers from surrounding departments by all candidates who meet a minimum criteria. Total of written versus oral and highest score gets it.
    Is your department volunteer or combination or career?

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    Volunteer.


    Quote Originally Posted by Spencer534 View Post
    Is your department volunteer or combination or career?

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    I believe my department use to vote on officers, but since I have been on, the chief has appointed the officers. Funny thing is the first meeting this year the chief walked in and said "This is my 20th year, I'm through," then the 1st Assistant said "Have we been here that long? Well then, me too." So as 2nd Assistant Chief, I became chief by default. I asked for nominees for the vacant positions, but got silence. So I appointed them by the number of fires worked first, training second and my faith in them to make a decision third. So far everyone has been pleased with their positions and we havn't missed a beat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianB35 View Post
    Volunteer.
    I congratulate you and your department. Sounds like a great process that would go a long way to finding the best leaders in your department.

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    On the Department I use to be on it was voted on by the membership; meaning your name was brought up seconded and then a ballot vote would occur, this happened for the Chiefs, Asst. Chiefs, Capts and Lts. Those names would then be brought in front of the public on village meeting day and voted on always would be approved. The other Department in town (The Town and Village use to be separate entitys, yet the Village was "part" of the town so there was 2 fire departments) before we merged the chief was appointed by the Town manager and then the Chief appoints his officers. When we finally merged the Chief was picked by the town manager. and then the chief choose his officers.

    My current dept the chief is appointed by the Town Manager and the Chief through an application process appoints the Asst Chiefs, Capts and Lt. The association votes for President, V. President, Secretary and Treasurer.

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