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  1. #1
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    Default Chief and Department Restructure Issues

    Hello all, first post on here, hoping for some insight on my POC departments issues of late.

    Start off a little history, my department is a smaller suburban/rural next to larger suburban areas. We've got approximately 25-30 members as of now. Currently the officers are voted on once per year. We have fire and ems officers split. Chief oversees a Deputy chief and Assistant chief on both sides as well as a Captain and Lieutenant both sides.

    So the issues... Currently I serve as our Assistant Chief. About a year ago I started noticing more and more that our department desperately needs some progress made forward and our tactics and way of doing things updated from our current standards that were current in the mid 1990s (yikes). So that being said I attempted to be elected to the Chief spot, tactfully. I strive to be as professional as I can as an officer and wouldn't do anything to negatively affect my department. I lost by one vote. No big deal to me move on and continue growing.

    A couple of months into last year I noticed that I was being left out of some officers meetings and other meetings involving some of the committees I was on. There was also an increasing tension between the current Chief and I seemingly on everything we did together. It got so bad I decided to take a leave of absence from the ems side of the department just to have a break. As I slowly came back I had a lot of support from the department.

    Now at the end of this year current Chief decides to bring up a complete restructure of the department (something I've been saying needs done for quite some time). He wants to have the Chief of Department appointed by the city counsel via interview and have one set of officers instead of two. (something I've also stated I wanted to do) He accomplishes this task of restructuring by forming a committee of guys he hand picks without telling anyone, then blindly presents it to the membership, without any heads up. The membership oks the structure but its thrown out by the city attorney for being against state code (can't combine the Fire Association and City Department together). That was in December, so he's still Chief, now he's dragging his feet and hasn't presented anything new on the subject since.

    What do I do? Am I wrong to think this is a disaster or just need to suck it up? I'm not the only one scratching my head.

    Thanks All for the long read.


  2. #2
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Assuming you have regular meetings at least monthly.....bring it up on the floor so everyone knows whats going on. Suggest forming a committee to look into the restructuring. It will be out in the open. And each meeting....get a report from that committee.
    "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?

  3. #3
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    So what is your goal?

    Reorganize or better training and tactics??

    Or both

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Assuming you have regular meetings at least monthly.....bring it up on the floor so everyone knows whats going on. Suggest forming a committee to look into the restructuring. It will be out in the open. And each meeting....get a report from that committee.
    I think that was the idea that Chief had set up already, but that committee isn't talking, even when its brought up. Chief just says he'll have more next meeting and never does.

    Fire 49 my goal is to reorganize and have better training and tactics.
    POC Assistant Chief
    Career Firefighter/Paramedic/Engineer

  5. #5
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    Sounds like the attorney might be an advocate. If he will talk to you freely, than learn from him.

    I think you need to present your ideas before all membership and keep doing till they have heard it numerous times.

    Also you might check with the attorney to see if """ all or some """chief meetings are required to be """open meetings"" attended by anyone

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    Who is the authority having jurisdiction? It's their call.

    In most areas the municipality officially provides fire protection, and the "association" (or whatever the organization may be) provides the manpower, often under some form of agreement/contract.

    In some cases the municipality provides the equipment/station, in other cases the "association" owns it all. And sometimes it's a mix of the two.

    For us, the fire district (a municipal entity in NY) owns the stations and the equipment and the fire departments "Inc." provide the manpower. Per state law for fire districts, the fire departments nominate candidates for the chief positions, and the commissioners appoint them (usually - they can turn them down, and there's a process in the law for that, too).

    The district also appoints firefighters, based on the recommendation of the departments, which handle the application process. It's possible that the commissioners could turn down such a recommendation, but it doesn't usually happen.

    I like the idea of having the chief selected based on qualifications. The appointing body should then stand behind their appointee when he/she implements policies and procedures.

    The fact that said appointee faces annual re-appointment means he has to live up to expectations (which should be plainly spelled out). And if he's not working out for the rank and file, they can complain to those making the appointment. If they have valid points, maybe he's gone. If they're just bellyaching, they can (and should) be told to shape up or ship out.

    There will always be sore losers who resent that they can't elect their buddy as chief, and that they are being forced off their derrieres to actually participate. Sometimes they see the advantages to the situation and again become assets to the department. Sometimes they walk.

    All that said, you really need to figure out who's who and get all the stakeholders involved.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  7. #7
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    Thanks guys for all the input. After some research I've found that our Department should be a City Delartment funded and run by the City, the Association is a whole other organization run by it's own set of bylaws. Now just to get that accross. Just hoping there's cooperation in both sides.

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