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  1. #21
    RJE Guest


    I never had to deal with a "bad" chief in my FF days, but I did have to deal with some pretty clueless officers while in the Navy. There are right ways and wrong ways to challenge authority.

    I don't know all of the situation, but I have read the press reports (what I could find on the internet) and I've read your defense, Jamie.

    Here's my take. You've got a brand new chief. Maybe he's okay, maybe he's a loser. I don't know how your dept. selects/promotes chiefs, so I can't say. You'll know more than I ever will in that regard. But he's new. He EXPECTS people to challenge his newly won authority. He feels he has to assert himself. But this can work to your advantage. You pick the fights. Let him win a little one, and he feels secure, and backs off.

    If he's a total loser (not saying he is, or isn't - this is hypothetical), then go the other way. Wait for him to screw up big time, then embarrass his pants off (preferably not in front of the public or press). Now he knows he's not perfect, and values your opinion more (or he hates your guts, but that's the risk you take).

    In the meantime, don't sweat the small stuff! If you really want to go to the funeral, go. If he says you can't take the truck, don't take it, go POV. If he hasn't got a valid reason (which is what it sounds like), then bring that up to the board, or the FFs association, or the county, or whoever put him in this position in the first place. Maybe you didn't get to take the truck this time, but you stand a good chance of either getting a policy in place that is reasonable, or if he gets his back up in front of his betters, he makes a fool of himself and gets removed. In that case, what are the chances that you're Chief?

    I know my Dad (an Asst. in MO) would never have told you you couldn't take the truck (if your portrayal of the situation is accurate), but if he did, and you took it anyway, I guarantee that at the least, you'd be back to a bare collared FF, with no hope of promotion for a long, long time. And probably suspended/on probation to boot. Insubordination is never tolerated.

    Maybe total expulsion was too harsh, but not by much. On the other hand, I think you could have used this situation to either make you chief into a much better leader, or to have him removed, had you handled it differently.

    Now, you're the one on the outside defending yourself. You have to go back, hat in hand, and present your case to those higher ups (whoever they may be) and beg, not for your old job back, but for re-admittance as a FF-I, and start all over again. And odds are, you'll do it serving under someone who has absolutely no respect for you.

  2. #22
    Dalmatian90 Guest


    A tip of the hat to RJE, who wrote an excellent response!

    As to who the Chief has to answer too -- that is simple. It is whoever appointed him.

    Whether that's the membership through an election; a Board of Directors which appointed him; or a municipal body which appointed him. Chiefs don't just spontaneously assume power...someone gave it to him.

  3. #23
    Kelly Tool Guest


    I'll agree with Dalmation90, RJE that was a good response.

    Do you know what the other 2 options were for dicipline? Were there really only 3 options? Maybe there were more, only we fail to see them.

    I will accept that i went to far with the fireing thing. But was that the smart decision? We are all hurting for manpower(unless you are lucky) and that's 5 less. The Cheif could have suspended the fire fighters for the moment and then had a hearing. Maybe he still would have felt the same, maybe not. Tell me this why do we have critiques at fires? It is so we can do a better job next time. Before this Chief had done something like this he should have critiqued the possibilites, 5 probationary fire fighters are a lot more helpful than none. Serious diciplines require serious time to understand what impact it will have. I'll give you this example, when we take on members what do they go through? On my dept. They must go through a physical, an interview and be voted on the by the membership twice. That is going in. Getting rid of people is just the opposite, you have to see if it is a good idea or not.

    Put the wet stuff on the red stuff
    Visit our Dept. Schodack Valley
    Steve Kelly Jr.

  4. #24
    iwood51 Guest


    Originally posted by Kelly Tool:
    I'll agree with Dalmation90, RJE that was a good response.

    Do you know what the other 2 options were for dicipline? Were there really only 3 options? Maybe there were more, only we fail to see them.

    Being from New York and not directly involved, I can only quote the original article:

    The Sugar Grove department by-laws identify three courses of action that may be taken in such a situation. The guilty parties may be fined, suspended or dismissed. Oaks, the president of the department and three trustees determined that the members should be expelled

    End of cut and paste.

    As outspoken as I've been in this whole matter, I will state that I don't think expulsion is/was the answer. We, as volunteers need everybody that we can get, however, they all need to abide by the rules. That is why I said they should go back with their tails between their legs, apologize, and ask for their positions back.
    They, all 5 of them, not just Jamey Crutchen, F$%^*$*d up. Hands down. That's it. Game over. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If they truly desire to do the job, and being in their own words 'the top responders', I believe they do, it's time to eat a lot of crow.

  5. #25
    BayRidge60 Guest


    Jamey...I too belong to a volunteer company. I don't know how on earth you feel you own part of SGVFD's equipment. It is the property of the company, not the company's members. That's kind of like saying that you own the pens at your day job because you work for your employer. Come on! And as for the question of how you could be charged for stealing something that doesn't belong to any one individual, I do believe that under the law, when it comes to property, a company equals an individual.

  6. #26
    mike021 Guest


    The only way I could see they feel they partown the equipment is either they buy it with firehouse money from their ambulance and they run their ambulance and make the money or as a tax payer who payed for the truck. I know in my dept. some say sometimes we partly own this suff, we get the ambulance out and make the money to buy it. just a thought

  7. #27
    George Wendt, CFI Guest

    Thumbs down

    Wow, not only are you guys jealous of authority, selfish and dishonest, you're dilusional, too!

    I am a LEO in NJ. In NJ, the definition of property of another states, in part: "includes property in which any person other than the actor has an interest which the actor is not privileged to infringe, regardless of the fact that the actor also has an interest in the property..." So if PA's law reads anything like NJ's, you're lucky you haven't been charged.

    You OWN a piece of the apparstus? Are you for real? That is absolutely one of the most selfish statements I have heard come out of a FF mouth.

    I will stick by my statement; the dept. is better off without you five.

  8. #28
    fc80chief Guest



    I don't want to seem like I am piling on here. I just got to ask you a couple of questions first.

    What would have happened if your actions would have resulted in a direct injury or a catastropic loss to an innocent bystander to the situation or one of your own fellow firefighters?

    If you were denied permission to take the rig, then would the insurance carrier have covered you if you were involved in an accident either to the funeral or from the funeral.

    If either of those scenarios had taken place guess whose butt you just put in a sling along with your own. Thats right - THE CHIEF.

    I am not trying to harp the point that you were wrong. You have already as much admitted that.

    What I am trying to point out here is that the chief has every right and responsibility to do what he did - to deny you permission and when you blew that off - to exact disciplinary actions.

    I am torn on whether expulsion is a suitable punishment or not. On one hand insubordination is a very serious action, it can totally undermine a chief or other officer and their effectiveness to do their job, that is why the military deals (or at least used to) with it severely. On the other hand the Vol. fire service everywhere is desparately understaffed. I have to be honest though, I do lean toward agreeing with your chief.

    Being a chief of a vol. outfit myself I can't help but wonder if there is a whole lot more to this story that we aren't being told. Other vollys out there can associate themselves to firehouse politics, I am sure that you have all seen or heard these before "I don't like these people so I am going to turn them down" or "the chief is a jerk, so lets blow him off"

    Either way though, whether the chief was being fair and equal or not the Sugar Grove 5, by your own admission (remember you said that you were wrong) should have never taken that rig.

    Nothing personal to the 5 from Sugar Grove, you just got yourselves in a real wringer, and that is something we all have done from time to time.

    [This message has been edited by fc80chief (edited 02-02-2001).]

  9. #29
    Chief79 Guest


    Let's see if I have this figured out yet! An Assistant Chief and 4 other fire department personnel get together and vote to disobey a direct order from the Chief of the department. They know they will be punished but they figure satisfying their own personal wishes will be worth the punishment. Am I right so far? If so then seeing as how these five were correct in assuming they would be punished, why are they complaining now. They all agreed it would be worth the punishment. Ooops what happened? Danged if the Chief didn't forget to ask these five what punishment they wanted him to dole out. How dare him not ask what punishment they wanted. I wish I was over this Chief so I could hear their gripe. Wouldn't take me long to put these five in their place.

  10. #30
    FFTrainer Guest


    Jamey --

    This is getting a little beaten up here so I will ask the one question I asked in the other post regarding this subject and have yet to get an answer on and it goes like this.

    This never happened, your still a member and a couple years down the road you are no longer Asst. Chief rather you are now Chief. It is approx. 10 days into your term and you are faced with a difficult decision. You toss and turn for a night keeping your wife and kids by being preoccupied with what the right thing to do is. You finally come to a conclusion and you issue your directive. In turn, 5 members - including your ASST. CHIEF - make a little side vote and blatantly disobey your order. What do you feel?? Do you feel disappointed? Let Down? Betrayed? Angry? Come on now, you were a highly qualified Asst. Chief who took it upon himself to make a decision to go against your superior and take a truck, so make another decision now and let us all know how you would feel being in the chief's shoes.

    While we wait, I'll tell you I would have been livid!! I would have suspended you if I was in a good mood, but I believe I may have removed you also. It would have been very difficult to decide, but what does keeping you get me? An Asst. Chief that does not support me? No thanks! I'd rather bump someone else up that I can depend on to stand by me through all the thick and thin that the fire service presents us with daily.

    Oh and if you are not one of those depts. that owns your vehicles, then your municipality owns them and the power has been given to the chief to care for them and insure their proper use. If you are saying no one person owns it more than the other, then we might as well let Hank that hangs out on the corner of Main St take her for a spin when he feels like it and not charge him for it, because well he's a resident and owns part of it. Boy I sure hope I own the motor or something important on my town's apparatus for what I pay in taxes!!!

  11. #31
    14Rescue1 Guest


    "you will see how I have explained there is no such thing as a front line truck in SGVFD"

    How long were you in th efire service not to understand this concept???

    "Also who could be charged with stealing a vehicle that doesn't belong to any one individual ?"

    Now on to this gem, unauthorized taking of public property is a felony. The vehicle in question belongs the taxpayer, if your one of them fine but it does not give you the right to randomly take it as you please. Come on be real this makes you sound real ignorant, and that's not a defense.

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