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Thread: Diversity vs. Merit

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    Default Diversity vs. Merit

    The attached link is from a weekly digest I receive. The person posting the video, Mary Rose Roberts, wrote an article in Fire Chief magazine about re-focusing on diversity in the fire service. She apparently received alot of... "spirited" replies to her original article. So much, she felt the need to attempt to "save face" with a rebuttal. The problem is her follow-up is more convoluted than her original article. Here is the link:

    http://firechief.com/video/merit-vs-diversity-20120314

    I am a diehard proponent of a qualified workforce. In the author's case, having never placed herself in harm's way where your safety and well-being, literally, was in the "hands" of your fellow firefighters, it is easy to promote the dumbing down of the fire service solely to meet political agendas. She rests in a warm bed at night and sits in a nice climate-controlled office everyday so the worst thing that could happen to her is a paper-cut or maybe someone bought some cheap, off-brand coffee.

    My point is this: The fire service has built a stellar reputation based on the hard work and sacrifices of many generations of firefighters before us. If we are to maintain our "edge", our reputation, and a workforce that is second to none, we must maintain a focus on hiring and promoting people based on qualifications.

    Some folks will argue that anyone other than caucasian males is disadvantaged regarding a career in emergency services. I contend that now is the time for anyone other than a caucasian male to get hired. There are many programs, grants, scholarships, and etc. available to anyone, other than caucasian males, with a pulse. If there was ever a time to earn your way into an emergency services career, now is the time.

    I've got no issue with diversity as long as the "qualified" criteria is met first. Many departments now have placed the "diversity" criteria at the top of the list and the results are apparent: people with criminal histories are getting hired; firefighters are frequently in the news for making poor decisions (on- and off-duty); harassment claims are at an all-time high; and etc.

    We have a proud heritage that we must endeavor everyday to maintain. Hiring someone to meet a political agenda is step in the opposite direction that a department will have to deal with for 30+ years.
    DFW



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    Very well put.

    It is frightening to think they are dumbing down ANY entrance requirement just because some number isn't big enough, but I know it happens all the time.

    What it amounts to is that cities are unwilling to do what it takes to cast a wide net and find qualified applicants of every background. There are plenty of capable people of every ethnicity and both genders. Cities just won't commit the resources it takes to find and recruit them, so they take the easy way out (surprise!) and just make it easier to accept those who come in on without so much prodding. That gets them what they want--a nice percentage of minority and female recruits--but it backfires onto the FD, which has to train and retain underqualified and/or unsuitable people.

    As a volunteer, I haven't had to deal with this issue, but like anyone who watches the news, I know most municipal departments struggle with it. And in my full-time job, which is a part of government, I know our administrators are constantly on the prowl to find good applicants of diverse backgrounds, and I must say they are doing quite well at it.

    But they haven't succeeded by lowering expectations. They have succeeded by increasing their own efforts.
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    Link to the article in that her video is in response to: http://firechief.com/leadership/ar/c...versity-201202

    You didn't get the memo? This is the future of America. These fluffy, everyone gets a ribbon, it is OK to lose, equal outcome (not opportunity), intellectuals are running the world.

    All do respect to Ms. Roberts, but outside your cozy office with ergonomical chair and scented candles there is a real world where tough men and women do a job that few desire to do. These people, by a overwhelming percentage, would work along side of anyone black, white, brown, yellow, purple or blue... as long as that person can do the job, is trusted and can be depended upon.

    Why not spend your time, instead of lecturing us about welcoming diversity, figuring out why the numbers of applicants are so low among minorities?
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    I learned oh too well where this country is headed when I went to my youngest son's 8th Grade end of school year award's program. Of course they handed out awards for Mathematics, Science, Arts, Citizenship, and so on to the best and brightest. Then there was a brief intermission and they handed out "Bull Dog" (school mascot) Awards to every student that didn't get a best and brightest award. Why? Because of self esteem. You couldn't have little Billy go home feeling bad about himself because he didn't get an award. Never mind the fact that he never applied himself or made any true effort to excel.

    It is high time that people realized that it doesn't matter how good you feel about yourself if you are unable to perform. I have said for years I don't care who works beside me, what their sex is, what their sexual orientation is, or what their ethnicity is, as long as when it comes time to do the job they can do it. To me it is that simple, changing written tests, changing physical agility tests to accomodate people does NOT build that trust. It builds a sense of unfairness and entitlement. Mentor candidates for the testing process, ALL candidates, not select groups, to give them a better chance in the testing process.

    I just love when people like Ms Roberts talk about the fire service and diversity. They make it seem like there is some huge plot to keep minorities and women out. Sorry NO, there isn't. The fact is the testing process weeds out those either not intelligent enough, strong enough, or psychologically balanced enough to do the job. Better prep both for the written and physical agility tests would help even those odds. The fire service is not a walk off the street and onto the fire engine job, it takes skill, knowledge, and strength that flipping burgers at McDonald's doesn't.
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    Totally agree with what those have said so far. Very well put.

    To add to that I also take offense that she is saying that the fire service needs to be more like corporate America, when I think it should be the other way around. That's where I'm stuck right now because I have to take care of my family, but once my chance comes along to get out I won't be regretting anything or looking back.

    The corporate world is one in which honor, ethics and morals are the exception, whereas in the fire service they are the expectation. The fire service isn't perfect, but it's something that I can be proud to be part of at the end of the day because of those expectations.

    And that's a great example of Rosemary Cloud who joined the Atlanta FD... from 1980! Give me a break. Things have progressed a bit in the fire service in 30 years.
    Last edited by yjbrody; 08-22-2012 at 04:58 PM.
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    first of all the CPAT is not a good physical test. It doesn't prove anyone can do our job, it proves you have a pulse and a very low level of physical capability.

    I think the BIGGEST problem is the DOJ, City Hall, the media, etc, etc is a lack of patience. You can't diversify overnight. Departments across the country are being cut, how are we supposed to diversify when we aren't hiring. It's going to take time. It seems "the powers that be" want results now, so they don't fire those that can't hack it. If we hired 3 women and found 1 just doesn't hack it for whatever reason, we don't fire her. We keep her because 3 women is better to have than 2 because we need the numbers. We need to be happy with the progress we make, if we only had x amount of black/hispanic/female/whatever apply last test and now we have x+y amount the next time that's good. It's going to take a while, I'm talking 20-30 years to change the make up of a department. Doesn't happen in a couple classes.

    I also think its a bit insulting to say that I need to look like someone to help them. That I can't do a good job of helping a black person because I'm not black. Does that mean when I call 911 I can request white firefighters only?

    I do think recruiting can be changed to attract people that aren't well represented, but beyond that we shouldn't change anything. We need to keep things hard, we need to keep it so you have to work, no one will appreciate being a firefighter if it's just handed to them.

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    I guess maybe I should've considered the source of article. According to her LinkedIn profile, the closest she ever came to a fire was a 20-minute stint as a PIO. Other than that being an editor for a fire service publication that happen to have the word "Fire" in its title, she likely has no clue which end of a fire hose discharges water and which goes back to the pump. All of her work experience is in Corporate America.

    That is just what today's Fire Service needs: another opinion by someone who is not even authorized to operate the thermostat in a fire station.
    Last edited by dfwfirefighter; 08-22-2012 at 08:11 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    The fact is the testing process weeds out those either not intelligent enough, strong enough, or psychologically balanced enough to do the job. Better prep both for the written and physical agility tests would help even those odds. The fire service is not a walk off the street and onto the fire engine job, it takes skill, knowledge, and strength that flipping burgers at McDonald's doesn't.
    There was a time in not-so-distant past that when a fire apparatus left the firehouse on a run, it was best that the FD had to offer the community - the best equipment they could afford and staffed by the best people they could hire (and best they could promote).

    Sadly, "excellence" today is rare and mediocrity is the norm.
    DFW



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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    first of all the CPAT is not a good physical test. It doesn't prove anyone can do our job, it proves you have a pulse and a very low level of physical capability.
    While I would agree, helping out with our department's CPAT a few times has taught me a wealth about who is coming into the fire service. I don't know, maybe our CPAT is a bit different. I had no trouble passing, but I have watched many fail. Few minutes on a stair stepper, ladder raise and extension, tool carry, hose pull, dummy drag, forcible entry simulator, confined space tunnel, and a ceiling pull.

    A year or two after I was hired, they went to a system that allowed two "practice" attempts and then a final attempt. I think it was to hold off a lawsuit or something. If a person passed either practice attempt that counted and they were done. I watched people give up half way through, not make it off the stair stepper, or just pass out. Don't get it.

    But speaking of diversity, I watched one female candidate run out of time on the ladder extension. She just did not have the grip strength or technique to pull the halyard up to the top. But she just would not give up. After they announced time was up she asked if she could continue to run the rest of the test. She was out of juice, but gutted through the rest of it. After watching numerous male candidates just give up in the middle of the test, I was impressed with her. At least you know if she couldn't drag your ash out of a fire she would probably die along side of you trying. I told her to keep testing, THAT IS A PERSON I WANT ON MY TEAM.
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    What a crock.

    Stuff like this is why 9/10 times my copy of Fire Chief that comes in the mail goes right to the garbage. Unless it is the time of year for Station Style Awards.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    What a crock.

    Stuff like this is why 9/10 times my copy of Fire Chief that comes in the mail goes right to the garbage. Unless it is the time of year for Station Style Awards.
    Speaking of diversity... the Station Style Awards really emphasize "White People Problems"... Oh no Preston, the recliner in the multi-media room is squeaky.





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    Quote Originally Posted by FiremanLyman View Post
    Speaking of diversity... the Station Style Awards really emphasize "White People Problems"... Oh no Preston, the recliner in the multi-media room is squeaky.

    Yes, Preston is the best rich white guy name I could come up with.
    You've cracked me up because I have an uncle named Preston. Not a rich guy, but it's so funny you think so because my in-laws say they think Preston sounds aristocratic too. I probably would have gone with Archibald.

    Station style awards just tell me that some departments still have entirely too much money.
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    Honestly, I can't tell you the last time I even opened an issue of Fire Chief magazine. It has seemed out of touch for years, well to me anyways.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    You've cracked me up because I have an uncle named Preston. Not a rich guy, but it's so funny you think so because my in-laws say they think Preston sounds aristocratic too. I probably would have gone with Archibald.

    Station style awards just tell me that some departments still have entirely too much money.
    Both Preston and Archibald are on the top of my "whitest names ever" list.

    Look for us in next year's issue. We are not one of the department's with too much money though, just a bank who keeps lending us some.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    And to add to that, this video pretty much sums up my feelings on diversity in the fire service.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lmj9HnbdhTc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    Look for us in next year's issue. We are not one of the department's with too much money though, just a bank who keeps lending us some.
    Some of the stations they show are practical. Others it's downright dopey what expensive features they have.

    We can't even get Morton Buildings to call us back...
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    Who the f*ck is Mary Rose Roberts and what are her qualifications?

    Resume:

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mary-rose-roberts/5/aa5/b0

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    Quote Originally Posted by yjbrody View Post
    Totally agree with what those have said so far. Very well put.

    To add to that I also take offense that she is saying that the fire service needs to be more like corporate America, when I think it should be the other way around. That's where I'm stuck right now because I have to take care of my family, but once my chance comes along to get out I won't be regretting anything or looking back.

    The corporate world is one in which honor, ethics and morals are the exception, whereas in the fire service they are the expectation. The fire service isn't perfect, but it's something that I can be proud to be part of at the end of the day because of those expectations.

    And that's a great example of Rosemary Cloud who joined the Atlanta FD... from 1980! Give me a break. Things have progressed a bit in the fire service in 30 years.
    I have to agree with you on this one as it relates to her comparisons to corporate America. It would be my fear that the fire service becomes like corporate America where the execs at the top award themselves outlandish raises and bonuses while screwing the people on the floor who are doing all the work all the while claiming they actually care.

    When I hear someone say the fire service should be run like a business I know immediately they have no clue what the function of a fire department is in our society.

    Lastly, she has obviously not been paying attention to the actions of corporate execs in the last five years. They were great at living the good life and taking profits, but immediately demanded taxpayer funded bailouts to cover their bad business practices.
    Last edited by scfire86; 08-27-2012 at 07:05 AM.
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    Anyone interested in a factual examination of the "diversity" scam should spend a few hours and read in depth the information available at www.meritmattersusa.blogspot.com

    Anyone can follow and they welcome anyone interested from Civilians to firefighters from any department who desires equal opportunity not equal outcomes.

    This is a deeply complicated, interwoven and misunderstood (largely due to agitprop diseminated by the race-preference crowd) issue that covers, local & national politics; ;Laws and lawmakers, social theories...etc.

    FTM-PTB

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    Brother... the "latest" passing score for "certain people" while maintaining the same high standard for everyone else is a travesty. I do hope it goes all the way to the Supreme Court.

    Imagine if the Bar Association used the same standards...
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