1. #1
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Angry Overbearing out of control Asst Chief

    Opinions please !!!
    On the VFD I am a member of we have an Asst. Chief who by trade is a High School councilor. He has been in the FD for 5 years now, prior to then he had no FD/Ems experiance. When the Chief is around someone is there to pull on the reins to keep him under control. Our chief left this past Sunday to go to the NFA for 2 weeks. Which by default puts "Frank" in charge. This man is constantly a "Power Struggle Freak". He has the hardest time making a decision. If you ask him for a decision he automatically starts twitching his shoulder. But the incidents in question, one of the local Burger Kings caught fire the other night in the next city to the south, approx 7 miles. It had been burning for about 1 hour when they called for MA. I was on medical call that night (we are a combined Fire/Ems dept). The page came out about 02:00. I responded down to the station and the engine had only 4 people sitting on it waiting for the 5th. There was about 4-5 people standing outside the station and saying "I have to work in the morning, but I can cover Marks' medical calls if he wants to go". I was very eager to go. But Frank says "No, you are on medicals and they stay in town". This I can accept, knowing that I was on medical calls that night and would most likely not go because of this. But what makes me stop and question is that Asst. Chief Frank antagonizes it. "Ha Ha, you are on medical calls and you cannot go to the fire". I think that the position he is in he ought to be supportive and NOT making the antagonizing comments. That is all fine and dandy now, but tonight we are drilling, and this car pulls up and this women jumps out and asks for medical help, everyone just stands there. So I immediatley go over to the vehicle and find a male having chest pains. We call for ALS Medics and ambulance. Frank comes over and starts ordering "If you are not on medical calls get your *** out of there". Now being and Emt-I and initiating patient care, I cannot leave this patient without passing on to an equal or greater trained Emt. Frank points me out, and says "Mark get your *** out of there". So, obeying the WHITE helmet I move out of there.
    I kind of feel as if I am being singled out and "picked on" (that term loosely, not any other way to describe it). I do not know if Frank has something out for me or just letting the power go to his head. There always seems to be two sets of policies when Frank is in charge. There is Dept policy and Franks Policy.
    This may sound as if I am whining, but I am just looking for opinions as to how to approach it. Do I endure two weeks and take it up with the Chief when he returns or do I take him on directly?

    Help me out please.

    Mark

    ------------------
    If in doubt - Call us out

    [This message has been edited by mark440 (edited July 27, 2000).]

  2. #2
    JMP17
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    Mark, is this Asst. Chief medically trained at all? And was there an EMT-I on duty at the station at that time you could turn the Pt. over to? If the answers are no, and being this is Voly. Dept. I would've told him to back off! You have a duty to act! Pt. care comes first! If this Pt died on your stations apron, your Chief would have alot more problems when he got back than you telling the Asst. Chief to screw off. I think you need to have a little talk with this guy, nice and polite. Have a meeting in his office and find out what his problem and if he unerstands the meaning of Pt. abandenment! Also(you should'nt have got me started!)This fire thing, I spent two years as the Lt. and if I got to the house and had four guys willing to do medicals and a qualified interior FF ready to go there'd be no question just get on the truck! Come on Chief get your #*it together! And 5 years on the job and he's Asst. Chief? That may explain alot of it.
    Be careful and watch your butt tillthe real Chief gets back!!!!
    Stay safe & Take care of each other!!!!!!
    JMP17

    ------------------
    Opinions expressed are mine and may not be those of my Dept.s

  3. #3
    pfpchief
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    as the chief in my dept i would want to know all the details of this behavior.my two asst chief answer to me about all the decisions that they make .i have told them how i want things done and if they do it different they have to be able to explain why to me .this is always done behind closed doors. they also can make the call themselves if its something that we have not planned for ahead of time but they have to justify the decision based on the sop and the general philosphy that we sare about how to run our orginasation.all this said the main thing is still the main thing the object is to get the job done if my truck did not roll because of a stupid decision his butt would be mine.we do not run ems so i cannot comment on the other problem from my experience. on the surface it looks as if this was another decision made without enough experience to back it up . the one thing that keeps poping into my mind is how did this guy get into this position in the first place.is he appointed or elected . if apointed the chief has to take responcibility for putting a guy in way over his head .if elected this is just another example of popularity or personality winning over substance. 5 years is not enough experience to be asst chief in my opinion. i have 21 yrs in and my assts have 15 and 30 years in we may not always get it right but we have the knowledge to back up our decisions.i reccomed reading harry carters commentaries on leadership they can be found on www. harrycarter.com they will give you and your fellow firefighters much insight into what i am driving at.print them out and pass them around before your next election

  4. #4
    FF.FOREVER
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Angry

    Tell him "TO GO POUND SAND!!!!!!"

  5. #5
    JMP17
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Super reply Chief! You sound like someone I'd be happy to work with.
    Stay safe & take care of each other!!
    JMP17

  6. #6
    bob1350
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    A chief with 5 years experiece? Who does your dept report to, and do they feel comfortable with this guy in charge of protecting life and property when he can't make a decision? I say, look at changing your by-laws if you're able, and look for chief material from a more experienced group. Also, see if there is a way to get this guy outta there. Hes gonna kill somebody!

  7. #7
    Member

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Location
    Roswell, GA, USA
    Posts
    58

    Post

    Use the chain of command here. In this case, your next officer upline is the Chief, so you need to speak with him. Be as non-accusatory as you can, but (if he doesn't already know) let him know of the concerns over the liability.

    I once was fired from a job over a similar occasion. But it was in a "right to work" state, so I had little recourse to regain my job. Even a complaint to the state health officials did little; they filed my complaint, but advised that any lawyer would tear it apart as a "former disgruntled employee complaint". I could see their point, but was still very unhappy about it.

    Keep a paper trail if you have to, and have others in your department do the same. Make sure you let your Chief know that safety is the primary concern here.

    In my previous department, I was the Dep. Chief. Everything I did while the Chief was out of town was discussed when he returned. But, since he appointed me and trusted me, it was information sharing. Even after major incidents, we had critiques, and differing ways of handling the situation were brought up. These were not to say I did wrong, but to bring up other options that I would try to remember as options on the next one.

    Everything can be a learning experience. If this guy is good enough to be a white hat after 5 years, one would hope he'd accept criticism. If he can't, he shouldn't be a white hat.

    ------------------
    Rick Reed
    (Contact me about a musical version of "The Fireman's Prayer".)
    The views expressed are mine. I typed it.

  8. #8
    Member

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Location
    Roswell, GA, USA
    Posts
    58

    Post

    Use the chain of command here. In this case, your next officer upline is the Chief, so you need to speak with him. Be as non-accusatory as you can, but (if he doesn't already know) let him know of the concerns over the liability.

    I once was fired from a job over a similar occasion. But it was in a "right to work" state, so I had little recourse to regain my job. Even a complaint to the state health officials did little; they filed my complaint, but advised that any lawyer would tear it apart as a "former disgruntled employee complaint". I could see their point, but was still very unhappy about it.

    Keep a paper trail if you have to, and have others in your department do the same. Make sure you let your Chief know that safety is the primary concern here.

    In my previous department, I was the Dep. Chief. Everything I did while the Chief was out of town was discussed when he returned. But, since he appointed me and trusted me, it was information sharing. Even after major incidents, we had critiques, and differing ways of handling the situation were brought up. These were not to say I did wrong, but to bring up other options that I would try to remember as options on the next one.

    Everything can be a learning experience. If this guy is good enough to be a white hat after 5 years, one would hope he'd accept criticism. If he can't, he shouldn't be a white hat.

    ------------------
    Rick Reed
    (Contact me about a musical version of "The Fireman's Prayer".)
    The views expressed are mine. I typed it.

  9. #9
    NCRSQ751
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The first thing you have to do is step back and look at the big picture. Get out a good old sheet of white paper and write down the situation, then how it was handled (from your perspective) and how you think it should have been handled. Next step is to approach this assistant chief with your paper.

    One of two things will happen.

    If he is truly unprofessional he will flip out and it will simply end up in an argument, then you have to take 26DC's advice and bring it up the chain as is appropriate.

    But give him a chance, because when he is approached in a non-threatening manner with the facts you may just see a lightbulb pop on. He may not be aware of how his actions are percieved by others. This is a slim chance, but one you owe him - you should always address the person you have a problem with directly before going over their head.

    This will not only show him that you are an up front kind of person, but if you end up having to go to the chief on his return it will also strengthen your position since it shows that you tried to solve the issue yourself.

    I am #2 in my department so I act in the Chief's place when he is out of town. Making calls as you describe hits me as an outsider as showing a lack of confidence in himself and his 5 years of training. It may be that he needs to speak to the chief about taking a different role in the department.

    These situations you've described are fairly harmless in that there seem to have been others to cover the situations at hand - but one day that may not be the case - and you can't let your life or your buddies lives depend on it.

    Act now and take responsibility for the situation. Your peers will respect you for it as long as you do it in a professional manner.

    ------------------
    Susan Bednar
    Captain - Forsyth Rescue
    North Carolina Strike Force 1

  10. #10
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Talking

    How about that... another bonehead with bugles... Well, as for the fire call, if I were a volunteer and the commanding officer starting "anatagonizing" me... I think I'd be heading home. I'm a volunteer, if it were my bread and butter it would be one thing, but I take enough crap at that job, I certainly am not going to "volunteer" to take some more...

    On the medical call... you are correct that you cannot abandon the patient. If you had no one to pass the patient on to legally and are ordered to do so by a superior officer, he takes on some responsibility. You need to check your department policy. Our policy here is to obey the order and protest it later. In this case, I think I would have made ONE appeal to the officer making the order and then obeying it. If the patient dies, and the law suits come, you will have to justify your actions. If the policy is to cease and obey, then the city/township/company or whoever runs your department shoulders the responsibility for having an incompetent person in the command structure...

    Of course... anyone can be sued for anything... if you worry too much about that.. it is time to look for another vocation.



    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

  11. #11
    Sand Creek Lynn
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Good advice on what to do has been given by others. May I suggest something NOT to do?

    Before attempting to resolve the issue internally do NOT post the problem on the net in such a way that your department is identified. This is a great place to come for advice and I'm glad you are here asking but I believe it to be irresponsible, unprofessional and unfair to do it in this fashion. Not unlike dressing down a subordinate in front of his peers. If I were your chief when I came back and found out this had been on the net "Frank" might be in trouble. You WOULD be in trouble.

    Do it anonymously or not at all.

    Lynn

    [This message has been edited by Sand Creek Lynn (edited July 27, 2000).]

  12. #12
    E229Lt
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Lynn makes a great point. With the thousands of "Franks" wearing white, I know one named "Mike", You really have tipped your hand.
    I assure you, a face to face with this clown will go nowhere. He will see himself as right beyond all reason.
    I often preach; follow your officers without question and have trust in their decisions.
    At the same time there comes along, "Frank". Frank has just ordered you to break the law. Tell "Frank" to step aside, treat your patient and then go deal with him.
    Your biggest mistake was to leave your patient. You knew, full well, you were 110% in the right, yet you walked away.
    I suggest you and your membership deal with this 5 year wonder at election time. If he becomes the heir to the throne, only because he is on the ladder already, your department had better wake up and smell the cyanide.

  13. #13
    Nick SBFD 6
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Angry

    5 Years on and the *** Chief? I'd be a wreck too! sounds like a swift reality check from a veteran of the force should do the trick, white hat or not.

  14. #14
    FyredUp
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Mark,

    I have to agree with Lynn. Don't ID yourself or your FD if you intend to flame the offender in public. It's okay to vent in generalities, but what makes you think someone else on your FD doesn't surf here and won't rat you out to that AC?

    Now, here is what I would do. In the case of antagonzing you over the fire call, turn and walk away from the jack ***. If he was any kind of man he wouldn't berate someone eager to go on calls and do the job. In the case of medical calls...if there is a state statute that covers abandonment or passing up or down medical care I would memorize the staute number and at least part of the pertinant content. The next time he orders you off a patient I would look at him and say calmly, If I comply with your order you are forcing me to violate state statute #XXX and now you assume total patient responsibility and liability.

    Document every incident, fire and/or ems as accurately as you can. What, when, and who witnessed it. Don't make an obvious public show of it. Just do it as a form of CYA.

    By the way....have you spoken to the chief about this? If not....why?

    Good luck brother....


    FyredUp

  15. #15
    FyredUp
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Mark,

    I have to agree with Lynn. Don't ID yourself or your FD if you intend to flame the offender in public. It's okay to vent in generalities, but what makes you think someone else on your FD doesn't surf here and won't rat you out to that AC?

    Now, here is what I would do. In the case of antagonzing you over the fire call, turn and walk away from the jack ***. If he was any kind of man he wouldn't berate someone eager to go on calls and do the job. In the case of medical calls...if there is a state statute that covers abandonment or passing up or down medical care I would memorize the staute number and at least part of the pertinant content. The next time he orders you off a patient I would look at him and say calmly, If I comply with your order you are forcing me to violate state statute #XXX and now you assume total patient responsibility and liability.

    Document every incident, fire and/or ems as accurately as you can. What, when, and who witnessed it. Don't make an obvious public show of it. Just do it as a form of CYA.

    By the way....have you spoken to the chief about this? If not....why?

    Good luck brother....


    FyredUp

  16. #16
    LuxRes907
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    now some of you fire guys might have a bone to pick with me after this post but what the hell. Now I know you value the command system very much in fire and you should, but in EMS, pt. abandonment is a very serious thing. In Marks situation, the person having the heart attack, if there was no other safety reason, (other than mark not being the medical person for the day,) for ordering him to abandon his pt. I would personally would continue pt. care until equal or more advanced medical personal arrive and have a talk afterwards. Think how it must have looked to the people in the car!! An EMT-I starting pt. care and being ordered to discontinue with no other medical personel there, would look pretty ****ty to me!!!!

  17. #17
    Nick SBFD 6
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Great thought in theory LUX, sitting behind your computer, but with a screaming apparently ver intimidating chief over your shoulder it may not be so easy. Being both FF/EMT (seperate departments, same building) I feel very lucky that are chief embraces EMS

    Mark, hang in there pal.

  18. #18
    JMP17
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    This is a bunch of CRAP!!!!! Okay the fire is the Chiefs thing and who knows maybe there was a method to his madness BUT! Let me tell you this, A car pulls into the house with someone having an MI the President of the U.S.A. himself could say step off and I would'nt say a thing in front of the Pt. and family but he'd get a look that would tell him to KISS MY #*S! Pt. care comes first...PERIOD! Things like duty to act come to mind. I'm a Vol. FF./NREMT-B and work as a CrewChief/NREMT-B so I know a little of what I'm speaking of. Another Vol. fire spot is just an application away. Anyone of them would love a well trained FF., But I stand by and watch someone die for NO MAN!!!

    Stay safe & Take care of each other!!!
    (sorry, Did'nt mean to go off!)
    JMP17


    ------------------
    Opinions expressed are mine and may not be those of my Dept.s

  19. #19
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    Sorry, I have been away a few days, all hell broke loose. To answer the question "By the way....have you spoken to the chief about this? If not....why?" The Chief left a week ago today to the NFA and is out of reach.
    On this past Friday, we were toned to a MVA involving a Mentally Handicapped bus and a car with a family of 4, Head on. We arrive on scene and this deputy tells me that there is a baby not breathing over here. I run over and find this baby in this bystanders arms, I run back over to the squad and ask for help. Well "Frank" is still giving his size up report. When he is done he comes to where I am and says " When I am on the radio don't ask me for help". Here I am with this baby from an MVA and she is in Severe respitory distress.
    The crash has of today claimed 4 lives, the baby being one of them, and mom and her brother and a mentally challenged man on the bus. The dad to the baby was trapped it took us 20 minutes to cut him out and there were a total of 14 patients.

    -The Saga continues


  20. #20
    Brian Dunlap
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    This Guy needs some serious "Head Slapping"...He is a school counsler by trade ? then he should act like an adult and know better !!!....You as an EMT Have a duty to act and because you started patient care you are in charge of that scene until an equal or higher trained medical person releives you...He acted in an inmature and unprofessional manner and I'm sure this was wittnessed by somebody at the station...Have him brought up on charges and have the chief recommend suspension for 30 days---15 for the unprofessional behavior and 15 for being an idiot !!! Does he have any idea The Department , The Town, Him-Self all could have possibly been sued if that patient would have died because he told you to get your *** out of the scene ? He should think about that during his suspension....At least thats what I would tell him if I were your Chief...This is a good topic to bring into play at the next regular company business meeting and let him explain to all the members why the company could have possibly been shut down because of his negligence

  21. #21
    Brian Dunlap
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Hey Mark after reading your Second Post about the MVA ...Sorry you had to go through a scene like that....But I would have told this Asst. Chief to stick his Radio up his *** ? Is it possible that a life could have been saved if he would have given you the help when you asked for it ? ....If so Bring him up on charges and file a complaint with the Municipality he is obviously a dangerous individual....Or was the scene so far gone that no matter what happened those same lives would have been lost ? You have issues that NEED to be brought to the Chief as soon as he gets back....And why I wonder would a Chief be un-reachable....All three of ours know what each other is doing all the time and somebody always has a number where they can be reached ...Our Chief will even call in at least once in a week if he is away...That should also be expressed with your chief unless he is a very priviate man in which case don't beat a dead horse...Good luck with your situation and think about what I said in my above reply.....Do what it takes and have him removed before he kills somebody !!!! God For-Bid !!!

  22. #22
    FSRIZZIO
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    Mark, these guys all have good advice for you. Read and Heed. You made me nervous at first, I'm an Asst. Chief of my dept. and my name is you guessed it...Frank

  23. #23
    FFWALT
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I feel for you dude. Do you have another assistant chief that could step in? Like these guys said, document. Can you remove him at the next meeting? Best thing is to get together and speak and ack as a department. What really worries me is that this guy wants to do is be little people and power trip instead of helping those in need. The black eye he has given you will be hard to get over.

    ------------------
    Train like you want to fight.

  24. #24
    clmassey
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    What is going on out there? This is the second post I've read tonight where you have somone complaining about a rookie chief officer. Something is severly wrong with a departments promotion policy when a guy can make Chief or even Asst. chief with 5 years of service. I'd say the good ole boy network is goin strong in these departments. C'mon guys set up some service and training requirements for your officers. If these guys hav'nt done the time as firefighters how can they command firefighters.


  25. #25
    pahoseboy
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    Mark its been over a month now. Tell us what happened. How you made out.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register