Thread: Being Promoted

  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Houston, Local341

    Default Being Promoted

    How does your city handle promotions? Houstonís Mayor wants to bring in assessment centers and the union is against it. Trying to find some different ways that maybe we could find a compromise. Right now we read about 8 books in about 3 months and take a test covering those books. How do you all do it?


  2. #2
    Forum Member
    DaSharkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000


    The Massachusetts Civil Service promotional exams are run very similarly. You have about a year or so to study 8 - 10 books and then on one magical Saturday morning you are supposed be able to recall all of the information from those books. Then you wait 6 months or so for the results to be posted. The department may promote from the top 3 scorers for each position.

    Many non - Civil Service departments will still offer a test with about 6 months to study the books and then you take the test and the results are out in a few weeks. Most departments will then have an independent review board interview each of the candidates for the position and make their recommendation.

    Many deparetments and cities hat I know of use assessment centers only for the Chief's position and it works well.

    Why not run an assessment center for promotion to company level officer? Frankly there is more to being an officer at any level than being able to spill out book knowledge on one day adn then foregtting it all after you took the test. The assessment center is going to put a person through a lot of paces. Many hire actors to play parts and some of these people really get into it. If a person is really not a people kind of guy then it will probably come out. You can throw just about everything at these candidates that you can imagine and you will have a better picture, not necessarily the best, of what kind of person you have vying for the position. Some people are good test takers but are worst guys for the job and some people are more of a hands on type. You can get both of them through the assessment center to come out and shine.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

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  3. #3
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    DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!


    Having taken a few Massachusetts civil service exams (firefighter entry level., Lieutenant, Captain and Deputy Chief), I agrees that the system, while it is good, can still be imporoved. Part of the problem is that they hire companies to write the exams. I beleive that a promotional exam for fire officers should be written by fire officers! (wow...what a concept!)

    I agree with Da Sharkie about having assessment centers as part of the promotion process. There are many "book smart" fire officers out there who would not know what a fire was unless it came up and bit them on the the same token, there are "hands on" fire officers who cannot handle looking up information in the fire prevention CMR's (Commonwealth of Massachusetts Regulations) and still look at a computer like it is going to arttack them.

    There are both types who have excellent people skills.

    There are those types who have zero people skills

    under the present paraphrase Leo Stapleton in one of his books....

    You only have to be smart a few times in your career...the Lieutenants exam, the Captains exam, and the Chiefs exams!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    Default Battalion Chief's oral interview

    Captain Gonzo, I wonder if you could help me. I am looking for info or tips on my upcoming Battalion Chief's oral interview. There is no test so I'm not quite sure what to expect at the interview.

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Promotional

    Trying to figure out how you can get through the maze to get a promotional badge can be baffling. We have helped many such as these recent candidates:


    Well Capt. Bob, I have some great news to report. Last year I purchased your video and workbook in preparation for a Fire Captain Promotional Exam here in SoCal. Two days ago I received the news that I got the badge! Many thanks to you, your proram, and your availability to speak to me over the phone. Again, thanks! Greg

    Hi Capt. Bob... don't know if you will remember me, but I wrote to you lastyear about your program. You might remember that I had taken the previoustest, outscored everybody, but didnt have enough time in rank to get all theservice points, and ended up number 4. Well, that list expired with me atthe number 2 spot. We just finished taking the assessment center testing,and the list was posted last week.... I finished number 3 this time, and should be getting promoted soon, as we have several people planning on retiring in the next two years.

    I ended up scoring about 5 points higher than last time, 2 of which came with getting the full seniority points, and the rest came from my
    performance. I know that your program was well worth the money spent. I have to say, your tip on rehearsing and practicing my script surely helped me.
    Well, when the official day comes, I'll write to you again.


    Capt. Bob,

    Just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for the "Conquering the Promotional Interview" series you did in Firehouse a few years back. I recently went through a promotional assessment for Deputy Chief in my department.

    I had remembered reading the articles and went back through my issues to find all of the parts. These articles became my guide as this was a new process to all of the candidates. In short, I came out on top by a mere 1 point over the next candidate. I "got the badge!" There is no doubt that your series of articles helped put me over the top. I was able to prepare answers for many questions that others have said they were unprepared for, but weíre exactly as you had stated in the articles.
    Dep. Rich Patterson
    Dracut MA Fire Department

    For more on our promotional program click here:

    Nothing counts til you have the badge . . . Nothing!

    Fire "Captain Bob"


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