How come we can't change departments in the fire service without taking a huge monetary loss?
If an individual gets into the fire service and would like to move to a different department (either busier or slower-better promotional ops or better perecieved location-whatever the reason)we have to start over at the bottom of the salary range and work thru a tiered salary step system, unless you get into the upper management type jobs that promote from outside as well as in.
I believe the fire service as well as the police are missing out on hiring some fine people that may be looking at trying to change departments for various reasons but can't because the salary hit is too great.
Lets compare this to private industry where a professional in their field (say an engineer) would want to change companies-
he/she would start out salary wise at a rate as high if not higher than they are currently making quite possibly with some bonuses or fringe benefits for joining. They would start over at the low end for vacation but everything else would be equal. It doesn't seem right to me.
I know that many people are very happy working where they are but some are not. There is also a benefit for the departments because these people are usually highly motivated and would be coming to a department with a new zest for the job. Not all departments that we belong to are structured to enhance the career growth of all members.
Remember when you first started in the fire service. I think some people want to feel that way again. Stay safe.
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Thread: How come we can't???
02-02-2000, 08:56 AM #1EdFirehouse.com Guest
How come we can't???
02-02-2000, 10:02 AM #2Ed ShanksFirehouse.com Guest
I'd have to guess that we don't have the ability to laterally transfer between departments for the same reason that many of us can't live where we choose - politicians are running the show.
As soon as residency is dealt with (yeah, right) I'd like to see this issue taken on. It would be a benefit to many departments to hire someone with firefighting experience from a different area. That's why forums such as these are so popular - we get to see how others perform a task differently than we do, but with the same results.
I suspect that because things like entry requirments and the promotional system would have to be standardized all across the nation, a million petty little 'turf wars' would erupt, though.
02-04-2000, 10:49 AM #3benson911Firehouse.com Guest
To help encourage the transferring of experienced personnel to our department and to keep our manning up, the union negotiated into our contract a pay scale for new personnel. New personnel with "full-time" experience as a firefighter or paramedic receive credit for their time at the other job to the point where their pay starts just below top FF/Medic pay, if they have the experience. The only problem we have run into is the city doesn't want to give the new employee their step raise after their first year. They feel he/she should complete the necessary service time on our department before moving up to the next step. So, they start at a higher rate, but stay there until they catch up, then they can advance.
Just like Ed Shanks said - the politicians/administration get involved and screw up a good thing. We fought for step raises for the first couple of guys who had this problem and got their raises. We used the premise that this part of the contract is actually a benefit to the employer because it attracts a fully trained and experienced person to our department, so they can "count" as manning sooner and avoid overtime costs to fill their position since they don't "count." They fought it anyway, they can't see the forest for the trees.
03-04-2000, 10:04 PM #4rescuebillFirehouse.com Guest
I have always felt we cut our own throat when it comes to moving. I have been on three paid depts. and hated being the rookie every time I started over but that is the way it goes.
I know the guys in my dept would never in a millin years give anyone senority. Senority is everything where I work. Vacations, longevity pay, riding assignments you name it.
I'm also a paramedic and it's not that way in the private ems systems (I never worked private and never would) but they seem to have that on us.
We also become too old for fire acadmeys sooner or later, and I know of no fire dept. that wouldn't make you go through some kind of training.
03-07-2000, 02:23 PM #5EXJAKEFirehouse.com Guest
To underscore the seniority issue. We hired people from other departments off of a layoff list under special conditions that allowed them to keep the seniority they had built up in their original depatments.
Some of them started on our department with more seniority than our own people who were already working and we placed them in the roster where they would have been under normal circumstances.
Their pay was based on our contract as if they were original hires. Some got a raise from their old rates,some didn't. Most of us thought they would be going back when their old departments had openings. However when the time came they all didn't want to go back and are still with us!
In these cases the transfers were successful
although none of them were officers so as a test case it's not complete.
Dare I say, Regionalization might make some form of transfers possible and increase the opportunities for advancement? And change residency requirements at the same time.
Or would I get hammered by opponents of regionalization?
Good Luck and be careful out there,EXJAKE:-)
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