1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Fire Commisioners

    I was wondering, if you HAVE commisioners, how well...if at all...you get along with them. Our small urban dept is overseen by commisioners but run by the chief. They have been at odds over just about everything since he took office just 4 months ago. They have even threatened to throw him out of the dept for some of his opinions!!! HIS OPINIONS?!?!?!
    For example, do your commisioners decide what pieces of apparatus roll to what type of alarms? Do they decide if a piece of equiptment is to be taken out of service for whatever reason? Do they decide how a call will be run and how the firefighters are to be called in?
    4 of the 5 commisioners are former CHEIFS and the 5th is a former firefighter. 2 of the 4 former cheifs still answer alarms themselves...is this REALLY a good way to govern a fire district?

    PLEASE....if youve had problems with your commisioners, how did you resolve them. Many firefighters are threatening to decrease their responses to alarms in protest over the commisioners...that is DEFINATELY not a way to resolve this issue.

    Stay Safe And Stay Low


  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    There are two FD's in my town. My FD does not have commisioners but has a Board of Directors which is very similar, if not the same thing, except that it is made up of all regular members (no officers).

    The other FD in town has commisioners, but they have no clue about firefighting.

    When the other side of town formed a district, we decided against it because we did not want citizens/politicians who had no clue about the FD telling us what to do.

    I know this doesn't really help you, but I am giving you my scenario.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Believe it or not, I would WANT ordinary citizens at the helm. Think about it..people who are in a situation to think and act like this is a business. What makes the best business sence in a certain situation. I dont want an old codger who says "we didnt have thermal imiging cameras for the 30 years I was in and we did fine, why do you need all them fancy gadgets now?"

    These are the same guys that oppose spending $1000 on a new set of turnout gear because "there has got to be a cheaper set out there some where"

    Stay Safe And Stay Low


  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    My department is muncipally owned and operated by the Village and contracts with the surrounding Town to provide protection. It is a paid on call department - strictly fire no ems and last year had 178 runs with a 2000 YTD runs of about 51.

    In this state (Vermont) villages are governed by an elected Board of Trustees which have identical powers of a city council. In my Village we have 3 Trustees and a President - who acts like a mayor we also employ a village manager who oversees all depts with the head of each department reporting to the manager, that is all departments EXCEPT the fire and police departments. Each Board member is assigned one or more departments to be the commish of (water, sewer, finance, etc.) but normally they just give a cursory review of operations. The President assigns these commisions.

    Our charter states however since the FD and PD are responsible for the protection of the life and property of the taxpayers, the Chiefs of those departments shall report directly to the elected individual who has that commission. For the PD and FD I am that person.

    Of the two departments the FD is the easier to be in charge of - trust me.

    I knew little of actual operations of either department but had managerial and business background - so the business end was never a problem. About 6 years ago though I was invited to attend a training program with the members of the FD and the "bug" bit me. I now run calls just like anyone else-but at the scene I take orders just like anyone else and have only on a rare occasion ever given a directive at a scene - when no officer was present or in cases of being teamed with a green rookie. This has worked, I feel, well since I work in town I am an extra set of hands during the short staffed day time hours.

    In four years we purchased a new tanker and a new engine - there was a spec committee formed each time - of which I WAS NOT a member of - I took the proposal to the Board and we took it to the voters. It was at times not easy but we did it - a first ever in the history of the department to purchase two new rigs within 4 years of each other.

    So you see a politician can do both - but it is a balancing act that can be difficult - especially if both the officers of the department and the commish's or Boards act like children. I or I should say my community is fortunate to have adults on both sides.

    My chief comes on here once in awhile, so if you see this ChiefDog and want to disagree - please do.

    Brian K. Savage
    Fire Commissioner
    Swanton, VT

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I did read it. One thing that BigBoss put in and it is the all important thing: All involved must act as responsible adults. They must work for the good of the community and compromise to get a workable solution. A n all or nothing attitude will not work.

    (IE: The engine purchase he mentioned: I put in for $266,500. I had to cut back to $199,900. It did not have all the bells and whistles it would have but a compromise got us the truck.)

    You must have people realize the boundaries and responsibilities that the Chief and Politician types have and at what time.

    Onscene: Chief or Officer in Charge is just that IN CHARGE!

    In the Board Room the politicians are in charge and have to look at the issues that are not necessarily the same things the OIC thinks about on scene.

    I am very fortunate to have the Board all be reasonable people. They have questions but given a reasonable explaination they back the department. I know of Boards that are not... they are not fun to deal with.

    There was a statement that you do not want the overseeing board be people who can second guess your actions because of their experience of 30 years ago. This would be true if they are not "reasonable" and "open minded"!!!

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    >Believe it or not, I would WANT ordinary
    >citizens at the helm. Think about
    >it..people who are in a situation to think
    >and act like this is a business.

    Actually, most of our Board of Directors (including myself) own our own businesses. So we are business men.

    I know that isn't always the case, but I figured I would mention it.

  7. #7
    Kelly Tool
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Our small FD is over seen by Commissioners and yes they and the cheifs do not get along to well. Some of the Commissioners are past cheifs, and that helps us and hinders us, on the one hand they know saftey is important, but on the other they don't want to let go of a buck. I think communication is the key and trying to get good people elected to the office

    Put the wet stuff on the red stuff!
    Visit our Dept. Schodack Valley

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If anyone would like to discuss fire commissioner topics please send me an e-mail by clicking mail below

    The views and opinions expressed herin are my personal views and opinions and not those of any organization, department I may belong to or represent

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