Thread: Seniority

  1. #26
    Detroit Fire
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Unhappy

    Everybody go home now Nate can't play nice in the sand box anymore. Are you a firefighter?? Why do you have such a negitive attitud toward everyone in here?? I agree with my Lt. I am a young guy on the job and there is still many things too learn on the fire dept. here. I have 4 years on and I still and will always support our seniorty system here. I am for education i am enrolled and have completed classes (not required by our city) but to better myself for the day i do become a boss. I like the Lt have taken every course that the i can take and always looking for more, not so i will be promoted faster not so i can say "I know more than you i should be boss but so i can make sure i will return the next day saying that I helped somebody today and made it home without dieing or being burned. Books can teach you a lot just as well as experence i am not knocking how others do there promoting it works for you and thats great seniorty works for us and thats fine with me.

  2. #27
    spo0k
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I origionally thought your post was referring to seniority as it pertains to the pecking order, to which I completely agree. As the junior man it _IS_ my responsibility to do all the BS duties that no one else wants to do, because when they were the junior man they had to as well.

    As seniority pertains to promotions, I personally believe that it should play a part, but not be the basis for promotions. Lets say you have two firefighters with equal qualifications and scores on exams, but one of them has 15 years and one has 7, the obvious choice is the firefighter with 15 years. On the same note, job performance should play an equal role in this. Seniority is important, but it should not be the end all be all determining factor as to the quality of the firefighter and what kind of job they will do in a command position.



    ------------------
    FF. Mike Burnes
    Whitehall Fire Division

  3. #28
    GO4IT
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I LIKE THE WRITTEN/PHYSICAL TEST WAY BEST BECAUSE WHEN I STARTED IN THE FIRE SERVICE FULL-TIME I HAD A LOT OF BOOK KNOWLEDGE AND WAS VERY ATHLETIC. SO I WAS QUICKLY ABLE TO MOVE PAST AND SUPERVISE MORE EXPERIENCED AND "FIRE SIDE" QUALIFIED PEOPLE, WITH A LOT LESS WORK ON MY PART MOVING UP THE RANKS.

  4. #29
    FEOBob
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    My department has had promotional exams with a written exam weighted 80% and evaluations valued 20%. We recently have changed our evaluation process to be less subjective. In the past (as recently as three years ago)you were given a ranking within the station by the station officers, and then the Batt. Chiefs got together and assigned a number between one and twenty supposedly based upon the input from the station and their personal observations. Needless to say, a Chiefs personal favorite seemed to get the best scores.
    The current process (in the process of being tweeked a little more) gives points directly for achievements and in station evaluations. The achievments range from education (college and fire service classes), public service, special assignment and a few other areas, notably seniority. Even the evaluations are given by strict guidelines. While book smart people can write their way past a middling eval score, the test is competitive enough that a lousy score pretty much screws you. The only ones who have been complaining have been the chiefs who feel they don't have enough say in the promotional process anymore.
    The big push for these changes came after several four/five year fire fighters made lieutanant, and it has helped there.
    If anything, seniority should be a bigger factor here.

  5. #30
    FireLt1951
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    FEOBob, wow a 4 or 5 year Lt. I'm not willing to follow anyone with that little time in firefighting. In a short 4 or 5 years that individual has not had enough fire service for me to follow that officer into the heat of battle. I hope your department sees the value of seniority in the future.

    Education is needed, training is needed but seniority should weigh more than most other evaluations. Experience is the best teacher and always will be. If you want to set certain standards for promotion, fine. Seniority should be the deciding factor.

    Too much as# kissing for promotion goes on in a lot of cities. While instructing in some communties, I found that a lot of times it's not what you know but who you blo#. Politics and promotions do not mix.

    GO4IT, I can hardly undertand what your saying in your post. Please rethink what you wrote and make some sense with it.

  6. #31
    spo0k
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    FireLT

    I'm not picking a fight by no means, but 4-5 years means different things for different people.

    What if in 4-5 years that Lt has worked on the busiest companies, and on his off days worked as a fire instructor. Or what if that Lt spent 5 years prior to his appointment with this department, working for another department.

    Seniority is important, but you can't soley base competence on years of service.

    just my opinion



    ------------------
    FF. Mike Burnes
    Whitehall Fire Division

  7. #32
    FireLt1951
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Sorry I still don't agree. As I read the post these individuals only had 4 or 5 years of firefighting experience. I can't hold with taking orders from someone with that little experience behind them. I ran with the busiest companies in the city for almost 15 years. The first 5 only taugt me a fraction of what I actually needed to do and see during my career to enable me to make just decisions not based soley on the book. Education and training are a neccessity ( I would not have spent 16 years instructing if I thought otherwise) but experience will allow for better decision making in the long run.

  8. #33
    spo0k
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Point taken, but lets say after that 5 years w/ Detroit, you decided to leave and go to a smaller/slower department. Would that 5 years experience w/ Detroit be sufficient to be in charge of a truck at the smaller dept?



    ------------------
    FF. Mike Burnes
    Whitehall Fire Division

  9. #34
    amfm
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    Just a thought. Have you ever considered what the public thinks? Specifically those that are in positions of importance in your city, that have little to do with politics, but because of their affluence have a big impact on those that do? While I agree that experience is important, and every system will have flaws, don't you think that what your public thinks is important?
    Most people in their jobs have to compete for promotions. Many go through a rigorous testing and selection process. If they know that you as a fire officer just had to spend time to be promoted, don't you think that just cheapens the position?
    Just a thought.

    [This message has been edited by amfm (edited 05-04-2001).]

  10. #35
    FireLt1951
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by amfm:
    Just a thought. Have you ever considered what the public thinks? Specifically those that are in positions of importance in your city, that have little to do with politics, but because of their affluence have a big impact on those that do? While I agree that experience is important, and every system will have flaws, don't you think that what your public thinks is important?
    Most people in their jobs have to compete for promotions. Many go through a rigorous testing and selection process. If they know that you as a fire officer just had to spend time to be promoted, don't you think that just cheapens the position?
    Just a thought.

    [This message has been edited by amfm (edited 05-04-2001).]
    The problem is that the public has never understood exactly what firefighters do here. It's not a case of ignorance but a case of they don't care until they need you.

    Everything in this city envolving positions of importance is political. This city is a political nightmare. The majority of peolple running this city are inept and unable to do what needs to be done. Thats one of the reasons this department is in such deplorable condition. The biggest example is that these idiots actually hired a cop to run a fire department. Think about that. a cop who came from a crooked dept. with no control over their officers.

    I would still want experience to be the major factor. Out of all the years I was an instructor. The most senior people had much more insight while fighting fires. The officers position is one of great importance
    as far as keeping their crews safe. Experience is the best teacher. If seniority is so bad, why does Detroit have one of the best records in the country on injury and death rates? Look at our history and you would notice that. We have fought for this system in the courts and in arbitration. Both have upheld the notion that this system is a good one. They took into account our death and injury rates and all ruled in our favor for the last 25 years.

    The public allowed the Mayor and the council to close 21 companies and cut our budget by around 20%. There was no outcry by the public until our death rates rose rapidly because of inoperable apparatus and poor gear. The city also dropped us down to 3 FF's per apparatus, from 5 and 6.

    Right now we are using SCBA harnesses that are over 20 years old, frayed and in dire need of replacement. The city does not want to replace them. Same with the masks. We are the only city that still uses the old MSA masks. MSA makes only 300 a year, specifically for Detroit. The only thing that has saved this department from going under totally is the seniority system. It has held our firefighters together and has kept them safe.

    I have no gripe with any system someone else uses, but I still prefer this one. The public (who had knowledge of our problems) and the politicians have let this department go to hell in a hand basket. Politics and firefighting do not mix.

    Over 20 years ago, the Mayor tried to break seniority by promoting outside the system. The mayor appointed officers on a pure political, who you blow, how much money you give system. He actually took a politically connected individual with 3 years on and tried to make him a Captain. The city actually wanted to be able to promote to officer in 3 years. Now thats our alternative. Sorry I can't except that now and I couldn't accept it then. Nor will I accept that in the future. The system works for us and I accept and approve of it.

    [This message has been edited by FireLt1951 (edited 05-04-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by FireLt1951 (edited 05-04-2001).]

  11. #36
    Nate Marshall
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    Post

    Sounds like your as washed up as your pathetic hockey team.

  12. #37
    FireLt1951
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    Post

    Originally posted by Nate Marshall:
    Sounds like your as washed up as your pathetic hockey team.
    Nate, you really are a horses A@s. I'll match my skills and education against yours any day. You sir are a complete moron that is devoid of any decency or common sense what so ever, you need to grow up BOY. I'm sorry I had to get away from the post. For that I apoloigize to the other members of this forum.

  13. #38
    FEOBob
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    When I mentioned 4-5 year experience Lt's, they were not from other really busy departments. We are not exactly a slow department, our busiest engines are running 2000+ runs a year, but a person who did all their time at one of these houses wouldn't have enough experience IMHO. These were people who were good at studying. Not to slam paramedics, but most of them had just gotten through medic school and had just had a year of learning to cram. My department has recognized the potential harm, and the changes in the eval process may be just the first step.
    Right now you only have to have four years to be able to take the Lt's test (only 2 for drivers!). There has been talk of increasing this to eight.
    The only sort of good thing about the Paramedics being promoted is that they are usually put on our medic units (non-transport squad types) and can get more experience without being in the position of having to be initial command or other ICS position. Usually.

    On another note, while I like the system we have here in Spokane, and expect to like it even better within the next few years, I can see where the seniority system could be invaluable in a city like Detroit. If it is as bad as all the Detroit FF's who post anywhere on the FH forum say, and I'm inclined to believe them, then they need a promotional system that is as resistant to tampering as they can get.
    Chin up Brother!
    Bob
    Spokane Firefighters IAFF Local 29

    [This message has been edited by FEOBob (edited 05-04-2001).]

  14. #39
    paets
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Detroit Fire:

    I know your department uses a seniority system, but exactly how does that work in regards to promotions? Do guys who wants to be promoted sign up on a list, or is it a case of you're a Lieutenant now because it's your turn in the barrel? Is the seniority based strictly on time in the DFD? I'm just wondering exactly how it works.

    In Houston we make all our promotions on the basis of a 100 question multiple choice exam. The exam is written and administered by the City Civil Service Department. Several months before the test a list of books is released and the test is written only from those specific books, but the questions could be absolutely anything in the books.

    I don't necessarily think this is the best system, but most of the firefighters think it is the fairest since everyone has the same opportunities to study the material.

    In their last contract the HPD gave away the same promotional system. They are going to "alternative testing" which most interpret as some sort of assessment center.
    We'll see how that works out for them.

    I'm interested to hear how your seniority system works.

  15. #40
    FireLt1951
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    Post

    The system here goes this way. When you become a firefighter you are given more and more responsibility as the years go on. The officers teach the younger members what responsibilities you will have to accept.

    You go on the seniority list in order of hiring. Officers are promoted off this list. You must stay in firefighting to stay on the list. If you decide to go to another division i.e. Fire Prevention, Arson, training etc. You begin to lose seniority for promotion to fire officer.

    When your position comes up next for officer, you are evaluated by your Battalion Chief and must be approved by the Chief of Department and be certified by the Human resources section ( used to be civil service).. Upon those recommendations you are either promoted or denied that promotion on the basis of you evaluations by the Chief.

    Not every individual gets promoted. Firefighters have had bad evaluations and been denied promotion. Everyone understands that they must learn how to be an effective company officer. They begin learning this from their first day.

    Some people disagree with this system but what I like most is that the city can't inject politics into the system. 90 % of our officers have college degrees. This is done on their own time and with their own money.

    We have our inept officers, just as any department with any promotional system has. I have found fewer inept officers in our system than in many around the state. It may not be a perfect system but I don't believe that there is "The Perfect Promotional System".

    I believe in giving experience the majority of consideration for promotion. if you want to add certain qualifications, fine. Seniority should be the deciding factor. As I've stated before this is the best system for us.


  16. #41
    Detroit Fire
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The police had that kind of of testing here. Where they were given a test the best scores were put on the list for the position of officers. The test had a ton of questions and the test was made so no one person could possibly get a 100%. well the test was administered and all of a sudden you got 3-5 people with a perfect 100%on the test. To find out they were working for the police chief and stole the test the day befor thats why they got the perfect score. I think that you can't base a promotion on just a written test.

  17. #42
    spo0k
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    FireLT

    After reading your post about how exactly it works I tend to agree with that method. As long as there is some sort of check and balance.

    I still feel that in conjunction with seniority there should be some sort of test of underlying knowledge though, which perhaps is addressed in the evaluation process.



    ------------------
    FF. Mike Burnes
    Whitehall Fire Division

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