I have 14 years of service in Fire and EMS. The State that I reside in Civil Service rules Promote thru seniority only and in the event of a tie thru placement scores. I have been employed with the Dept Iam with now for only 2 years. In theory someone who was hired a few days before me with no past experince can be promoted before me. I have heard alot of the pro's and con's of seniority. How does your dept promote? All a bad canidate for Captain has to do is sit and wait his turn. How do you prevent this?
Seniority - Good and Bad
Seniority can be a good thing for some departments. I personally think that it should hold SOME sway in the hiring process, but according the rules and regulations of the State Examiners Office in Louisiana, seniority is worth a percentage in the hiring process. Other factors that are supposed to be counted are score on the civil service examination, certifications and education, and past performance.
Now, there are young guys that come into departments and think that because they have a fire science degree, they should be captains instead if the person with 20 years experience. Experience should count for something, especially a company officer position.
Now, on the other side of the coin:
There are two people up for a captain's position
20 year veteran scores 79 on exam
10 year veteran with continuous education scores 87 on exam
Both go through the interview process, but the 20 year veteran is dumb as a rock. The 10 year veteran has excellent communications skills.
Who should get the job?
The answer to this question in most Louisiana Fire Departments is the 20 year veteran who is dumb as a rock. He's a "good ole boy."
This is why the majority (not all) of IAFF members in this state don't fight for what is right. They would rather spend your union dues on taking their entire families to Hawaii and Orlando for conventions instead of representing the members or at least have a representative at important city council and retirement meetings. This is why the LSFA stands for the Louisiana State FIREMEN's Association. How old school. This is why the LA State Firefighters Retirement system is in jeopardy. These same people sit back while departments are on the verge of lay-offs(much less hiring more firefighers)because the contribution increase is so much. They have no ethic or morals.
In conclusion, it depends on the chief of your department on how the hiring process should go. Hopefully, this chief will consider your experience when promoting. A two year firefighter (with no prior exp)should not be the company officer. Good Luck.
The Traveling Firefighter