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  1. #1
    Forum Member BrianB35's Avatar
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    Default Firefighter Auxilary and City Manager have a difference in opinion

    Ok here is the concern. Our department is part of city goverenment and we have a budget from them. Our auxiliary raises money from outside sources and purcahses items we need that the city can't or won't purchase. (Desktop PC, printer,tools, coolers for water on fire runs, sound system for training room, USAR gear, etc..) The city manager states that if the auxiliary buys something for the FD and the FD accepts it it now becomes city property and the CM can do what she wishes with it. Our Aux president does not agree with her and states that items for the FD are for FD only.

    It has not come to a head, but I was wondering if anyone else has had issues like this?


    Thanks in advance.


  2. #2
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    yes would say it is city property if your dept is part of the city

    or is there some set up between the dept and the city, and if so is it in writting and what does it say as far as who is in charge of the dept???

    even though I would say it is city property, seems a little pciky the CM would take it away.

    if some of this property needed maintence who would pay for it??????????

  3. #3
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    Are you a charitable organization? If you raised the funds yourself you may be able to make the items property of the organization. Otherwise, you need to get a written agreement on what the property that's donated is used for. Better get it straigtened out now. I'd work on getting others like the chief and council members on your team as well.

  4. #4
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    The next time the city manager starts yapping look him in the eye and say "I hope you have a plan to increase the fire department budget." When he asks why, tell him "We are done fundraising..." Watch his eyeballs go huge on you. The go to the city council and let them know because of threats from the city manager you will not be fund raising any longer.

    We shouldn't have to fund raise anyways...
    Last edited by FyredUp; 06-08-2012 at 02:12 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Items purchased and utilized at or by the fire department, which is governed by the city, become the property of the city once donated. In other words, all the items you mentioned, are technically the city's property once "donated" or turned over to the FD for its use.

    I was my department's association president for 6 years and ran into this several times. You either accept it and keep the bickering to a minimum or you challenge the city's authority and end up on the short end. Stinks, yeah, but there is a way around it all...

    Your auxillary can, if it is organized properly as a charitable orginization, 504 orginizations for example, can legally donate items to a department or other entities, and attach a stipulation to the item. Say for example you wanted to donate $500 towards the purchase of a new LCD projector. You donate the money with the stipulation that it only to be used for the purchase of said equipment and that said equipment may only be used by the FD, that if the FD does not want the donation or the equipment is not used as intended, that the FD forfeits the donation and it then goes back to the auxillary.

    Your best bet though, is to work towards an equitable solution with your city manager.

  6. #6
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    I should add/caution that your auxillary would benefit best by consulting with its attorney and by following your state's laws governing donated items towards government entitities.

    I came to rely on my association's lawyer quite often and our usual outcome was to just quietly respect the city. Like I mentioned and other's pointed out as well, there's countless ways to get around a controlling manager. How you handled the situation though will usually determine future outcomes as well, so play it as softly as you can to avoid future issues.

  7. #7
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    As stated above, IF you fire company is part of the Town...it's the Towns. If your fire company is it's own entity, it's the fire company's.

    In my town, the 2 fire companies are their own separate entities. The town provides funding for FF gear, hose, the trucks, etc. They "rent" space in the fire company's buildings to park the towns' fire trucks and store their gear. We fundraise to pay for our building and it's expenses, the town gives a small budget for the gear, hose, and truck maintenance.
    "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?

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    Sounds like the city manager is using the auxiliary to save money for the city. Parks and recreation needs a computer? The FD auxiliary just bought one - we'll take theirs!

    I'd suggest a couple of things.

    If the item purchased is a hard good, like a computer, place on it a very visible and impossible to remove sticker saying something to the effect of "Purchased by the Podunk Fire Auxiliary for the Podunk Fire Department." That way, when somebody walks into Parks and Recreation, it'll be staring them in the face, and maybe they'll wonder why their donation to the Auxiliary is sitting in P&R. Same thing if the DPW has a similarly marked cooler sitting on the back of their truck. Stuff like that tends to come up in city council meetings and doesn't always go over well with the populace, and thus the council members (for whom the city manager works).

    Second, if possible, concentrate your purchases on things that have little or no use elsewhere in city government. Coordinating with the FD might mean you buy something they need so they have money in their budget to buy the item you would have purchased for them.

    All the other suggestions are good as well.

    On the other hand, if you manage to call the city manager on her game, count on some push-back.
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  9. #9
    Forum Member BrianB35's Avatar
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    Just wanted to give an update. Our Aux is a 504 and at their last meeting these are the next steps listed.

    1, All items purchased by the Auxiliary now have a "Property of Aux" sticker on them.
    2, All items have been inventoried with their purchase price.
    3, Motion will be made at mext meeting to state all purchased made by the auxiliary and donated to the FD are to remain with the FD until no longer needed and then a decision on disposition will be made.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    That's nice. What happens if someone is injured using the Auxiliary's equipment? Above, you mentioned USAR gear...

    Does the Auxiliary's insurance cover them for that? Does your Department's insurance?
    "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?

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    Depending on how MI law reads, you may not be able to specify that a donation to a municipality be used a specific way. I'd get a read on that. Given the manager's past actions, I'd almost bet that's the case.

    At least you are buying specific items, not just turning over cash, which could easily be redirected, regardless of your wishes.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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  12. #12
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    Enter into a usage agreement that says something along the lines that the aux. owns the equipment but allows the fire department to use it as long as it stays on FD property.

  13. #13
    Forum Member Daped01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thumper57 View Post
    Enter into a usage agreement that says something along the lines that the aux. owns the equipment but allows the fire department to use it as long as it stays on FD property.

    this is what i came in here to say pretty much. Your Auxilliary maintains ownership of said property. They just allow the fire department to use it as needed. just to be on the safe side though you might want to have it in some sort of written agreement between the auxillary and the FD.
    Last edited by Daped01; 09-11-2012 at 04:40 PM.

  14. #14
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Our village president made a power play for our fundraiser money several years back we made it clear to him and the board that we would NEVER fund raise again if they took that money from us, even if they were legally allowed to take it. We also made it clear that we would go public with their money grab to those that had donated, bought raffle, or dance tickets, and let them know that the city took the money from the FD. They backed off and over the years we used fund raiser money to pay the matching funds for our 2005 engine we got with AFG funds, and we just paid half for a used pumper to replace our 1974 Mack CF. We have used those funds for different items around the station and for other equipment that the village either couldn't or wouldn't buy.

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  15. #15
    Forum Member Daped01's Avatar
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    we had a situation where the city government took a large chunk of money from our account (tens of thousands) to cover several years of losses from the municipal liquor store(tens of thousands of dollars for 6-7 years). that was part of the reason for us getting awarded a grant for the new tanker.

  16. #16
    Forum Member BrianB35's Avatar
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    Just an update to this, auxiliary has purchased ID tags and placed on all equipment it has purchased and a Excel inventory has been created, versus just noting items in meeting minutes. CM has been politely notified that Aux purchases are for FD only. She hasn't taken anything and again most are things only FD could use.

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