1. #1
    Junior Member

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    Jul 2002

    Angry More Troublesome Department Members

    I've been reading a lot of posts lately about departments that have been having trouble with members (both current and prospective) who seem to be causing a lot of problems because of their behavior. So, I thought I would add my complaints to the list, and see what people have to say about this.

    Here's my story, and I'm sticking to it:
    About 2 1/2 years ago, we had a member who was removed from the department for some inappropriate activities. Well, since his removal, we have gotten a new chief, and a couple new command officers, who all happen to be friends of this guy. This guy was a hazard before he was removed from the department; he freelanced a lot, refused to follow orders, disregarded safety issues, etc. to such a degree that several people refused to work with him. Now, I've been hearing rumors that the command staff would like to reinstate this guy's membership on the department, because "he REALLY wants back on the department", and "he shouldn't be a problem anymore, he's learned his lesson."

    I think this is a big load of *stuff*, but the chief does what he wants regardless of the feelings of the membership. I think I'd be hung up to dry, and be accused of having a bad attitude, if I tried to voice my opinions around the station.

    Well, I've left out a few details, but that's the basics. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do about this, but I needed a place to vent my frustrations.

  2. #2
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    AFD368's Avatar
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    Feb 2002
    Albion NY


    What is your position in the Department? Are you just a Firefighter?
    What do some of the older members think? Does your Department have a Board of Directors, who can override the Chief, or maybe put restrictions on this member if he does return to the active rolls?
    Usually, most Volunteer Fire Departments have a clause in their by-laws that requires a higher vote total to be reinstated. (i.e., a majority vote to become a member, and maybe a 2/3's or 3/4's vote to be reinstated or to re-join after being dismissed from the Department.
    Just some thoughts from the information you provided.
    "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
    Battalion Chief Ed Schoales
    from 'Report from Ground Zero' pg 149
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  3. #3
    Permanently Removed
    Kvfcjr's Avatar
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    Jan 2003


    well, vote NO, when you guys vote him in

  4. #4
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    Duffman's Avatar
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    Aug 2002
    Chicago area


    Why is it that some volunteer departments make it so easy to become, and remain a member? If all it takes to be a member of the department is a friendship with the chief, you have a bigger problem than one guy.

    The system is to blame. Maybe the department/district needs to evaluate their requirements for membership.

    It is hard to get into specifics with the information you provided, but I would be asking myself if I wanted to be a part of an organization that functioned in this manner.
    "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in New York City."


  5. #5
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2002


    Unfortunately, I am simply a firefighter with only a few years of seniority, and there is no vote whether to extend membership to an individual. The Firefighter's Association here doesn't really have any say regarding people's status on the department. Membership is solely based on the training officer's confidence in the candidate's ability to perform the required duties. The training officer then recommends to the chief whether the candidate should be offered full membership.

    With regards to Duffman's post, I DO question whether I want to continue my affiliation with this agency. However, as I'm sure most everyone here feels, being a volunteer with some integrity appeals to me, and I enjoy actually responding to calls, etc. It's the political B.S. that drives me nuts.


  6. #6
    Temporarily/No Longer Active
    July36's Avatar
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    Dec 2002


    Sounds ALOT like our MA Companys Chief. Hes very political on everything and I try to stay away from him as much as possible.I dont worry about politics...I just worry whether the job is done that were intended to do.

    Donna C
    Fire Chief

  7. #7
    District Chief
    distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001


    I can not imagine being a member of a volunteer organization that has no say so in the members who participate. Sounds more like a dictatorship as opposed to an organization. Perhaps it is time to spearhead a change.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  8. #8
    Sr. Information Officer
    NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    25 NW of the GW

    Default Re: More Troublesome Department Members

    Originally posted by Chops15
    This guy was a hazard before he was removed from the department; he freelanced a lot, refused to follow orders, disregarded safety issues, etc. to such a degree that several people refused to work with him
    While I do not believe that this member should be reinstated, based on his alliance with the new chief.....I would hope that IF a vote takes place regarding this issue, the officers would include the condition of a probationary period..... perhaps one year? If the member shows his willingness to cooperate and has indeed "learned his lesson,"....the membership should be approved.

    If he hasn't changed his ways....you've got something in writing to fall back on.

    CYA....and put the conditions in writing!
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  9. #9
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    NCRSQ751's Avatar
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    Aug 1999
    Clemmons, NC


    It's really unfortunate when this sort of thing happens.

    In one of my organizations we had a person who, while technically competant, was a serious problem. That person's behavior was at best abrasive. The person was incapable of conversations - only arguments. They were so abrasive and difficult that people would not come to the station if that person was there, would avoid training if they were in any way teaching or assisting and some would even avoid calls when that person was on duty.

    Despite all this the person remained a member for many years..with the behavior getting steadily worse. Why? Because the Chief officers during this time didn't want to kick anyone out, or were friends with that person.

    When I became Chief I took each violation seriously, had people document them and began to build a paper trail as should have been done from the beginning. I am a people person and I feel that everyone has the right to come to a volunteer station and not be abused or put in any unnecessary danger.

    Any violations of the rules of conduct should always be written up for anyone.

    After a short while there was enough for a suspension, then the person was on probation. The ball was back in their court. They could ride out the 90 days and the slate would be clean.

    About 30 days short of that the person reverted to old ways and was removed. It was appealed to the board and to this day that person STILL feels it was some kind of personal vendetta.

    The moral of this long story: Some people do not have the capacity to see their bad behavior/mistakes. Some people really just don't see that they do things wrong.

    To bring someone like you describe back into the fold can only work if it's probationary. If he hasn't learned his lesson he'll hang himself - however your leaders have to do their part. If he does wrong again they have to uphold the rules and get rid of him again.

    Best of Luck!
    Susan Lounsbury
    Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
    Griffith Volunteer FD

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber
    ChiefReason's Avatar
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    Feb 2001
    Illinois-where pertnear is close enough!


    Here you are trying to make the chief out to be the bad guy. Here is the way I see it:
    The problem is not the chief for wanting to get this guy back on the department.
    The problem is if the other members LET him, because you do not have guidelines for membership. If you do have guidelines, then stick to them. It's easier just to go along though, isn't it?
    Let's look at a couple of things that you stated. You said the guy was removed for "inappropriate activities". What? Setting fires, selling drugs, sleeping with someone else's spouse or creating a hazard to himself or others? Not much is said there.
    "Free-lancing". I see this term a lot, but no one can really define it. Free-lancing how? Describe it. "Disregarding safety issues"? Or disregarding safety RULES? I got news for you; there's a whole lot of that going on all over the country. People refused to work with him? Was that just the ones who didn't like him? Just asking.
    Everything that you mention are issues that can be resolved. What ever happened to getting a second chance? Any of you ever gotten a second chance? I know I have. This guy might very well have changed. Is the problem with the guy or the way the chief is going about it? I have to wonder. The logical thing to do if you are needing members is to see what this guy can do. Put him on probation, but not if it's not a rule. You really can't treat him any differently than anyone else. Anyone else ever been re-instated?
    You should get guidelines and follow them for sure. Then stuff like this will be dealt with through the proper channels.
    I will leave you with this thought: if you don't trust the chief with this decision, then how can you trust him with YOUR LIFE? Think about that and get back to me.
    Take care and be safe above all else.
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