After seeing the story on Minneapolis' new fire chief I looked around their web site and something is a bit disturbing. Why are more and more departments using the term BUSINESS when refering to us.
What is wrong with strategic plan, short, medium, and long term goal setting, anything but business plan.
The fire service is not a business, we don't make money, we don't make products, we provide a vital service to the residents of a community, paid for by tax dollars.
When you classify us as a business you loose a part of what we are. You loose sight of the fact that we are here to run calls and train. So the new "business managers" (city managers and fire chiefs) think we are not being productive when we don't have a towel in our hand cleaning something. They begin to forget that we are the resource that is first on the list and that sometimes down time is needed to recover (even before 5 pm) from a bad call.
When we switch to a business we become just another asset that can be replaced or just tossed aside when money is tight.
I'm ranting a bit, but it just doesn't sit well with me.
So who else is going through this?
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Thread: Business Plan?
03-21-2005, 07:56 AM #1
- Join Date
- May 2000
- Wheaton IL
03-21-2005, 08:53 AM #2
It's not a new idea, not that it's a good idea, either.
There's a difference between the "business side" with true analogies -- like purchasing, the service-delivery side.
Some of it comes from us (I still don't agree with Brunacini's "Customers" -- customers have a choice), some of it from the outside (Manchester, CT has had a "General Manager & Board of Directors" since the 1950s...they thought back then that would be more business like then "City Manager & City Council" name everyone else used...)
Problem I have is a lot of times, people get fixated on the words used to describe and lay out a plan...rather than on actually making and executing a good plan.
Good plan, adequately executed today is better than the perfect plan perfectly executed next week -- and I'll give you a good guess what people going around making up fancy names are trying to achieve.IACOJ Canine Officer
03-21-2005, 09:12 AM #3
- Join Date
- Nov 1999
While there is nothing wrong with using good business practices in running a fire department, it is a mistake to run a fire department as if it were a business.
Businesses operate to provide the least amount of service or goods for the maximum price in order to generate profit for owners or shareholders. Most, if not all, fire departments operate to provide the maximum service for the least amount of money. Profit does not even enter the picture.-------------------
"The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.
03-21-2005, 11:17 AM #4
we have to look at it as customer service. tax payer vote to keep us going. they need to know who we are and what we do for them. as we know thanks to hollywood, we do it all now. wont be long till the fd will be doing heart transplants
03-21-2005, 12:07 PM #5
There are words in the English language that are much better at describing the services provided to those who pay our bills (maybe) than "customer."
Customer's don't pay taxes to a retailer (though they may joke about the Governor's share when paying); nor do all the people we serve have a financial interest in the matter (homeless, people involved in say, a MVA while travelling through the area, etc).
A Rabbi was once challenged to recite the Torah from memory. He quickly took up the challenge and proceded to say,
"Do onto others as you'd ask others to do onto you. All the rest is commentary and footnotes." Insert your religous leader & book name from any of the other mainstream branches in the Abrahamic traditions (Christiam, Muslim, Judaism) or even most of the main Eastern religions, and the same holds true. Hmmmm...IACOJ Canine Officer
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