1. #1
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    Thumbs down Memebrship Denied

    What is your views?

    Volunteer firefighter runs for Fire Commissioner and wins without the backing or support ofthe volunteer fire company of which he is a member.

    Three months later is dropped from active status for attendance, did not maintain required 25% over three months, just missed by .7% oh gee those are the rules.

    Submit appeal as per company by-laws, no reply from fire company.
    One year now passes and he submits a new membership application. Keep in mind this person meet the certification requirements as set forth by the fire company plus has over 20 years of fire service with another company, good ole Eng 80/TFD if anyone from Tarrytown is reading this. Once again turned down no reason. Fire company does not recognize NJ state laws that required written reason for denial. Side note fire company does not like being refered to as morons for tuning away qualified volunteers.

    Nearly two years has passed now and the person gets an audience with the Pope, I mean the fire company. Fire Chief and President do all the talking still they do not want this person as member. Ironically the President has not made percentages for almost three years, a well scheduled medical leave will delay any action. A fire commisioner/firefighter in fire company gets up and make a propopsal that if this person resigns as fire commisioner the fire company should take him in on one year probation, normal probation is six months as low as three if you are a returning member. CAN WE SAY POLITICS HERE?

    Here in lies the question for all of you.
    If you are the fire company do you cast personal and political agendas aside and take in this person.

    If you are the person making application do you see legal action.
    Last edited by Commiss86; 07-19-2002 at 12:40 PM.
    The view expressed are personal and not those of any organization or board that I may represent. I am exercising my right as a free American.

  2. #2
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    Ugly. Plain and simple.

    Anyhow, to the questions. I would think that even though they don't/didn't support them as commissioner, if that person serves as a commissioner, it would help the company more than hurt it to have them as a member. You would think it might make for "smoother sailing" when bringing purchases and such before the commissioners. He would also have to agree to be fair with what he proposes as a commissioner. I'm sure there is more to this story than what you put in your post, but based on that information, yes, I would take them in.

    They have the right to seek legal action, but at what cost? Having a lawyer force your way into a company is not going to get you "accepted" as a member....ever. They will always be the outsider and troublemaker (even if it's not their fault). If legal action is required, join the other company in town.

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    Well first off maybe the reason they didn't support/ back the commiss in his election bid is because under the IRS 501 code for non-rpofits, the dept could/ would and will jeapordize that status.

    The 2nd issue is, what's the members standing in the dept? I mean we have supported twp commiss's behind the scene and not as a dept, but if the guy's a mutt in the dept, why would you want to put him in an a mutt commiss.

    As far as not meeting the regs or rules, guess what? That's what they're put in place for and if you make an exception for one person/ one time, then each and every time after that, you'll be expected to make the same compromise thereafter. The rules is the rules is the rules.

    I'm not rendering an opinion in this particular situation, but only stating the way it is in this job.
    These views/ opinions are my own and not those of my employer/ department.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the views

    Bones:

    I agree the commissioner is looking out for the fire company. He backed the LOSAP. He been buying whatever the fire compnay specs for turn out gear so on and so forth.

    I also feel that the reason he is not getting in the fire comapny is so that if he runs again he can't say that he is a volunteer anymore and those running against him will say that he was thrown out.

    My best educated guest would be that they are poor losers. This happen to be the first time that they did not back the canidate that won. Oh too bad. That would clear up Res7cue issue.

    I whole heartly agree by laws are there to follow, however the by laws also gave an appeal process that was ingnored.

    Bones do me a favor next time you see one of your Commissioners ask him if the BOFC can disapprove a member in the fire company.

    Also think of this, the BOFC provides all the equipment, trucks and gear, training, insurance, station and utilities at the tax payers expense. Should this person regardless if he is a commissioner be able to serve his community with the taxes he is paying as a home owner. By the way the fire company President that opposes our commissioner, who has not fulfill his percentages for several years DOES NOT EVEN LIVE OR PAY TAXES IN THE FIRE DISTRICT. in fact he does not meet the residancy requirement prescribed in the by laws.

    Bones, I'm over your way on weekends are you hanging out at the Station or on the beach or boat.
    The view expressed are personal and not those of any organization or board that I may represent. I am exercising my right as a free American.

  5. #5
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    In my fire district we have 5 fire commissioners and they have made a ruling that they maintain the percentage of an ex-chief while in office (right now all five are members)as a commissioner 1%. One of them is an ex-chief. Many of us wish they would respond to alarms with us but out of the five 2 of them come around to help out at scenes some times. They are all older gentlemen and have their 20 or 30 something years in anyway. Fire dept politics is a nasty game some times. As far as residency requirements, well I wont even go there it could be a whole new forum. I feel maybe your member could have been put on a percentage probation meaning if he got his percentage up in a certain time he would be allright. Also if the rules state that there is an appeal process well than thats a rule just as the rule they stood by to throw him out. So as some one else stated "The rules is the rules" so follow all of them faithfully not selectivly. I agree with one of the earlier responces that bringing lawyers in dose not make for a good enviroment. But maybe as a civilian this person can appeal to the BOFC. Also to answer your other question in my district the BOFC can deny any member putting in an application or request to have a member removed for one reason or another.
    Last edited by firesafetycapt; 07-20-2002 at 01:43 AM.
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    I'm not familiar with your system and how it works, or in this case doesn't seem to work, but is it just a case of "sour grapes" or from a different perspective, is it actually a conflict of interest having a Commissionar as a volunteer?
    Luke

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    Commiss86,

    I love this one. The reasons you have described are exactly why I do not Volunteer as a Firefighter in Gloucester Township [I reside in the Blenhiem/Blackwood Area] Pollitics are a mess in that town -- I'm a member of another Company just over the Chews Border and although we have percentages to maintain our rules aren't that severe and we are not commisioned Department. --- If more of the Township residents were aware of what companies like 8-6 are doing to their members they would be out raged. Next time you are in your engine bay area [Thats if the commisioners are aloud in there] take a look at the gear lockers...what do you see ? alot of empty spaces. Reason ? Pollitics and Percentage Games. People just don't have the time anymore to be at every call. Take my company for example --- Out of 260 Runs so far this year I've missed 181 due to work and trying to have a life. Fire Company Understands this. I work on Tuesday Nights which is when My Company Meets and Drills --- I can't attend any of those nights and I'm still active.....Would that be tolerated in Gloucester Township....I'm not sure about all the companies but I've been told that the ones in my immedieate area wouldn't accept me if I can't come to meeting and Drill nights. The Newley Formed Emergency Medical Service in Gloucester Township has already Crashed down the Crapper more than once since last year -- I know I was a member of 8-7 and I got out when I found out what was about to happen. The Fire Companies are not far behind them.

    Firefighting isn't a game....It isn't and never should be a game about poillitics, numbers, dollar signs, and percentages. To many diffrent people have their hands in the cookie jar in Gloucester Township as a whole -- Nothing against you --From what I see you are a stand-Up Guy but whats wrong with the town I pay a Fire Tax In ?
    Stratford Fire Company # 1
    New Jersey State Firemen's Convention Champions - 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000

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    Commiss86,

    We are fortunate enough to not have a Board of Fire Commissioners. We have one member of our Mayor and Council that is named Fire Committee Chairperson by the Mayor each year. This year, it is someone who is actually a member of the department, this does not always happen and hasn't in the last 10 years or so. Our department is run by our Board of Officers, which is all our line officers. We are provided a budget by the town and all equipment and training comes from there. Membership is voted on by the individual companies, Mayor and Council do a vote once the company tells them there is a new member, but that is basically a procedural thing to cover the town with Work. Comp. Our volunteers are considered "unpaid employees" of the town for that purpose. Technically, I guess they could vote someone down, but I can't imagine that happening as it's really an automatic thing and they never know who it's about anyway, they trust us to police ourselves and our own members. We have a very good relationship with them.

    Weekends, usually at home doing my "honey do" list, but can be found at station. No boats or beach on weekends during the summer, too many "bennies".

  9. #9
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    BDO32 Thanks for your support.

    Our membership is actualy at an all time high of 26, and somewhat active I'll add. Although maybe 6 of those members have just completed FF1 and more or less joined as a result of 9-11, which is all well and good.

    How does one make the public aware of these practices without coming off as the bad guy. The last thing I want to do is make an expample out of the fire company. Most of these members are are only going with the leadership, even if it right off the end of a cliff.

    I spoken to others at 85 & 82 and they would be more than hppy to welocme new members.
    The view expressed are personal and not those of any organization or board that I may represent. I am exercising my right as a free American.

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    Man politics abound here. We currently have 1 councilwomen that just joined and finished our academy class. A couple of other council members and local paper rasied the conflict of interest flag regarding the FD's yearly budget but this has all be pretty much tempaterd since she is not an officer of the department, due to term limits is on her last term and the department has extending an invitation to all the council to join.

    My mantra as you might say for our department is "Rules: enforce them, change them or get rid them." But it appears that this group was using selective enforcment. Plus not responding to the appeal offically. Which makes is sound very personnel.

    Keep the lawyers out no one win there but the lawyers.

    It would be nice to hear the other side of the story.

    It's really to bad this type of stuff goes on in so many departments
    Stevejd
    www.lcvfd.com

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    Thanks Stevejd;

    NJ law as it applies to fire districts prohibits commisioners from being the fire chief or company president for conflict of interest.

    Our fire district goes further by prohibiting commissioner holding an fire company office line or executive.

    You dept seems to be under the town council wher as ours is under a fire district with it's own tax. Our district covers 4 sq mile with 11,000 residents with a budget of 1 mil. We are a part paid dept with one shift 8-4 Mon-Fri 3 firefighters/ 1 captain 2 full time office clerks.

    I'm glad to see someone from council took up on the offer to join. The people holding the wallet should see first hand what we do.
    The view expressed are personal and not those of any organization or board that I may represent. I am exercising my right as a free American.

  12. #12
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    Comiss, you know you are always welcome a few miles up Erial Rd.

    BDO, I don't know who you talked to but you have bad info for at least one of the departments you slammed. We are always willing to make allowances for members with personal problems. Of course you have to make the training up on your own time, no free ride. I agree with you its not a game you have to be trained and active to be any good to us. You sound like you have a big chip on your shoulder about everything here, but if you want the straight story email me and i'll give you my phone number.

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    I tried to join a volunteer company closer to home (5 miles to the station) but was turned down. When I asked the chief about the "rejection" he told me it was because I was a "come here", not a member of this community since birth. So I decided I was better off where I was to begin with (a 16 mile ride to the station).

    It's probably their loss anyway, but politics can make things so frustrating sometimes.

    Arthur
    Another lifetime volunteer proud to serve my community.

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    Halligan 84,

    I sent you an E-Mail with further explination but I am Sorry I did perhaps come off a bit Strong.....I did have some bad info. since my post I've started gathering better information...At least I'm trying to..
    Stratford Fire Company # 1
    New Jersey State Firemen's Convention Champions - 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000

  15. #15
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    There has been over 300 hits on this post and only 13 responses.
    I bet there is more of the same out there. Let's step up to the plate.
    The view expressed are personal and not those of any organization or board that I may represent. I am exercising my right as a free American.

  16. #16
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    More Developments

    Fire company just FIRED, threw out three volunteer members becused they challanged the Prresident on finaicial matters. One of the three was V.P. All three were activly running calls and current with training
    The view expressed are personal and not those of any organization or board that I may represent. I am exercising my right as a free American.

  17. #17
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    I believe this fire company qualifies for the label "Bairding". Good Luck to the people they are supposed to be worrying about protecting.

  18. #18
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    Originally posted by Commiss86
    Thanks Stevejd;

    NJ law as it applies to fire districts prohibits commisioners from being the fire chief or company president for conflict of interest.

    Our fire district goes further by prohibiting commissioner holding an fire company office line or executive.
    Actually, NJ law does NOT prohibit this. There are some unofficial policies that say so, but no law, regulation or other legal impediment. Now, whether or not this would be a conflict is a question that has not been answered by the election commission.

    I'm not sure your fire district can create such a prohibition, as it would need to be done by State Law.
    The above is MY OPINION only and not that of anyone else. I am not representing any organization in making a post here!!!!

  19. #19
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    Originally posted by Commiss86
    More Developments

    Fire company just FIRED, threw out three volunteer members becused they challanged the Prresident on finaicial matters. One of the three was V.P. All three were activly running calls and current with training
    Tell them to get a good lawyer and read Egert v. Tuckerton, a NJ District Court case that basically says you can't discipline a member for exercising free speech rights.

    This would probably extend to the ousted commish too.
    The above is MY OPINION only and not that of anyone else. I am not representing any organization in making a post here!!!!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Memebrship Denied

    Originally posted by Commiss86
    Fire company does not recognize NJ state laws that required written reason for denial.
    That law gives some State person the power to enforce, either the Director of Division of Fire Safety, the Director of Civil Rights or the Attorney General (been a while since I looked at it).

    Make a few phone calls and ask for enforcement.
    The above is MY OPINION only and not that of anyone else. I am not representing any organization in making a post here!!!!

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