Thread: Being Promoted

  1. #1
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    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?
    "DON'T GO IN THERE!!! DON'T YOU KNOW THERE IS A FIRE IN THERE!!!!"

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    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.
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    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 arse...by 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 system....to 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

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