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  1. #1
    Member fergus's Avatar
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    Question Senority Based Promotions

    I spoke to a guy from a nearby department that uses seniority based promotions- he said "I hate this system! The best guy for the job misses out, and they give to some dinosaur!"

    I spoke to a guy from a nearby department that doesn't use seniority based promotions- he said "I hate this system! The most experienced guy misses out, and they give it to some kid who just happened to test well!"

    What method does your department use for promotions? which method do you prefer?


  2. #2
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    Civil service towns use the test, they have to. The problem here is they keep saying that the test is unfair, there are some groups of people that do not fare well on them. Other towns that are not civil service will hire you by appointment and promote by either seniority or they will give their own test, not a civil service test. The problem with these kind of towns is you have a political game to play. It is my opinion that the test is a good way to go but, I think you should be given a number and then take the test so no one knows who, what color, what ethnic background, or what gender you are. If number 99 scores highest on the test then number 99 steps forward and takes the promotion. That seems to be the fairest way to do it.

  3. #3
    Forum Member FireCapt1951retired's Avatar
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    Ah yes, another thread on the seniority issue.

    The department I'm with has the seniority based system and I like and approve of it 100%.

    I'll explain my thoughts on this.

    1st off almost all the members of my department have degrees from Associates to Masters, so the education level is there. I have an A.S. in Fire Science and a B.A. in Administration and am just shy of my Masters.

    2nd and foremost is the fact that every Officer has a minimum of 16 years of experience as a firefighter when they become sgt's. During their career, they are given more and more resposibilities and training as they progress in years. They are taught and led by experienced officers who have been there and I feel know their job (even the poor ones) and all it entails.

    Granted, not all make the best officers but the vast majority are good at it. I feel that does not always hold true for departments that test, especially on the company level. It also depends on the political aspect within the jurisdiction.

    I was an instructor on the University, state, local and private level for over 16 years and found that testing does not always give you a good officer. I also found that the more experienced firefighters made better officers and decision makers.

    I've heard the statements that not everyone is officer material, I believe it lays in the process of bringing people up through the system the correct way, by company officer leadership. If someone does not feel they can become good officers, most go to Fire Engine Operator or divisions and stay there.

    Is there a perfect system? I don't think so but I'm happy with the system I work in and believe in it. I was brought up through the system with some of the finest officers I have ever known and learned how to lead through example.

    The Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, Deputy Chiefs and Chief of Department are appointed by the Mayor and seniority is not a consideration.

    So now I've posted this, I've put on my flak jacket, so fire away.

  4. #4
    Forum Member BCmdepas3280's Avatar
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    In our city the system is a test base with seniority points add to the raw score of the test . This system seem to be fair due to the fact that no one under 5 years is allowed to take the exam for promotion . This allows members to gain some experiance before they take the test and allows more senior members points for there knowledge and experiance . We also have the rule of three in new york which allows the chief or city admin to pick from the top three candiates.

  5. #5
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    Although I don't completely like pure seniority as the rationale for advancement it is as yet the only system I have seen that is not open to abuse. Tests are fine if administered honestly but if a chief wants his candidate in he merely has to feed him/her the answers.

    The simple fact is that in any system other that straight seniority, the brown nosers, toadies and yes men, will always be prevalent.

  6. #6
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    Cool

    My how a person's opinion can change with time!!

    Back when I was green and wanted to be chief,I thought the eager beaver should run the world.I thought the best test score would be the most qualified,boy was I wrong.

    Studying and applying knowledge should enhance ones abilities.HOWEVER,I've witnessed it for over 17 years now,JUST BECAUSE A PERSON HAS GOOD STUDY SKILLS AND CAN WRITE A GREAT TEST AND PRESENT A GOOD ORAL INTERVIEW,DOESN'T MAKE HIM/HER THE MOST QUALIFIED!!!!!!!!

    I witness it every day,some snot nosed 25 year old who made Lt.,can't make a decision or put the fire out without looking at his notes first.Some of the best officers I've had,had experience first and book knowledge second.The best way in my opinion to promote,at any level,is to develope a testing system that is pass/fail.If everyone can pass the testing system,then the senior person gets the promotion,period.

    This will somewhat eliminate stagnation within the ranks for long periods of time(ie:retirements-produce more replacements.)

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    We use a system where the written is 40% of your final score, and 15% apiece for seniority, education, oral interview and yearly evaluations. You also need 10 years on the job. It's not bad but I'd rather have seniority get a bigger boost out of it. I'm a big believer in time and seniority promotions virtually assure that almost everyone goes off the job with rank and we all get a shot at Lieutenant. I know, occasionally the old guy doesn't deserve it but more time then not it works out and it takes away some of the political *** kissing. Incidentally, I'm in the middle of ours (my first time) and I've got 13 years on. WIsh me luck!
    Regards, Brian CFD #357

  8. #8
    Senior Member FireFighterMO's Avatar
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    I'm glad that my department doesn't do seniority. I've been there three years and just passed the Lt. test. I was sitting in the testing with guys that have been there and taking the test for 10-15 years. Our testing is a joke. I took the Sr. FF test, the Engineer test and now the Lt. test; all were the same test. I know a Capt. that took it 11 times. He's an idiot. He won't even say how many times it took to pass the Sr. FF and Eng. I don't know why we have the same test for every promotion. I guess that's our built in seniority advantage. LoL

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber gfdtrk4's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    After 2 yrs. you can take the Engineers exam.
    You must hold rank for at least one year.

    FF....Engr. ....Lt. .....Capt. ....Batt. Chief.....Division Chief....Deputy Chief
    The Chief is appointed by the Mayor.

    The test score is:
    60% senority
    30% Written test
    10% Oral interview

    Most people are making Engr. rank in about 4-5yrs.
    Most Engineers are making Lt. in 12-15yrs.
    Most Lt.'s are making Capt. in 6-12 MONTHS!
    Most of the Batt. Chiefs have about 30yrs.

    I don't care how it's done ------There is no perfect way to promote!

    (I would really like to be able to skip Engineer)
    I really don't feel like being stuck behind a steering wheel for 10yrs.,then the next day being the Lt. (or anyone else....trust me, you have to see it to know what I mean)

    If there was a perfect way to promote....with a test, interview, and maybe a scenario .......I would be in favor of doing away with senority!

    ....Or maybe the oldest person in the US should be the President
    ....The oldest person in your town should be the Mayor

    I have seen the 100% senority method in action
    (Lt. & Captains that are so old they can't get out of bed in time to do their job....and when they do, they stand on the sidewalk and shoot the breeze with the other old farts on the sidewalk....um..uh.....I mean ensure the safety of their subordinates)

    Just my opinion
    FTM-PTB
    trk4

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    I don't believe in sole seniority based promotions the same as I don't believe in promotions to those soley with degrees. I believe there should be a process that takes education, experience, and work ethic in to account. I believe that you can not fight fire from a book, however you can not fight fire from a recliner either. Just because someone has been around the dept. forever does not mean they will be the best officer. I have seen people swindle their way out of going in to fight the fire for one reason or another, now that these people have time on the job should they be promoted? I have also seen people with degrees who didn't have enough common sense to get out of the rain, now since they have a degree should they be promoted? I think that there are a lot of considerations that need to go into promotions. I will say this, my current Lt. has no formal education and has about 8 years on the job. He is one of the best Lt's that I have worked for. Maybe he was born with his ability!?!?!
    Take Care & Be Safe

  11. #11
    Junior Member Bleve30's Avatar
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    Our department works with the seniority bases promotions. It has been working well for us to this point. Once they are promoted, they have a six month probationary period during which time they are given monthly written evaluations. Our local was given the opportunity to assist with the evaluation form design. We have only had one member fail his probationary period. When this happens they have to wait for the next opening before they can apply again. It seems to work for us. I would hate to see someone step over other members just because they scored well on an exam. I feel that in most cases your senior members should have the experience to be competent officers. One of the problems I have seen is that the people that tend to complain about certain officers tend to complain more on a personal level rather than a professional level. Our department is too small to have them stand on the sidewalk and shoot the breeze, at least until the heavy work is done.
    These are my views and opinions and do not reflect any of my affiliations.

  12. #12
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    I am not for seniority based promotions. Many of the people here stated that the person being promoted weren't the best for job, I'd have to agree. My dept has pass-fail-seniority. If you take the test and pass, then you are placed according to seniority. You only have to take the test once because the list never expires. There are guys on this list that tested 8 yrs ago. The last time some of the guys on the list read ANYTHING fire related was when they studied for the exam. For a guy like me who is at the bottom of the food chain, it could take me a long time to make officer. I am into the job, take classes and keep with the times. How do you feel when a dinosaur who spent his career on the couch makes rank . I along with many of the other younger guys want score based with points for other qualifications. However if we bring up the issue at contract time, the city will want their pick from the top three just like our cops have. Not good, it just took one sgt 9 yrs to make lt. and only because they had to because he was the last one left on the list and contractually they had to promote. There doesn't appear to be a solution in sight.

  13. #13
    Forum Member BCmdepas3280's Avatar
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    Talking

    You guys make me laugh some day you will have a little seniority and the new guy will be saying the same thing about you .... If you are lucky enough to make it 20 ,25 or 30 years.... then you must have done something right in your career and, maybe the rank attained was because they knew what they were doing?

  14. #14
    Senior Member Smoke286's Avatar
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    Senority is the only thing that keeps a dept from being run by a bucnh of suck-ups to managment. Usually the people who are against senority are the ones who want to suck up to get ahead

  15. #15
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    Promotions should be dealt with quite simply, you have a qualifying standard and the senior person meeting that standard gets the job. Any system which involves subjectivity is open to abuse and when it is open to abuse it will be abused. People should be promoted due to their qualifications and experience, not on how good that person is on selling themselves or prostituting themselves.

    Right now we have a situation existing in many departments where there are firefighters who were hired for polically correct reasons and who cannot cut it of the fire floor. Departments cannot get rid of them, so to save face they promote them to a non suppression position, often at the expence of more senior and better qualified people. This meets the politicians hidden agenda of appeasment and is a useful tool for any political toadie chief. The only losers are the soles who are passed over for promotion and the morale of the departments.

  16. #16
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    Hammer the point home, fellas! Seniority is the only true system that works the best AS A WHOLE. All methods have little problems that someone won't like but with time on the system can't be manipulated as much. For all you young bucks (and I'm 35, for the record.) you'll get your turn when the time comes. Otherwise you tie up that spot for 15-20 years and all the new guys after YOU think you're a joint. Don't be selfish! Also, I know that once in awhile a dinosuar gets made that doesn't deserve it, but all-in-all it's still the best way.
    Sorry for the rant, Brian 357.

  17. #17
    Junior Member Bleve30's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention earlier, to be promoted, or to receive acting captain pay, you have to have completed the officer's course. If you don't have the course you get acting lieutenant rate. The senior people that don't want the captain's promotion just don't do the course.
    These are my views and opinions and do not reflect any of my affiliations.

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