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  1. #1
    Forum Member RLFD14's Avatar
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    Default How to run a disciplinary meeting?

    We have a member who has generated complaints from inside and outside of the department. Our bylaws require the Review Board (of which I am part of) to handle this matter. There is apparently no written guidance on how this should be handled.

    No one remembers the Review Board having to do this in recent memory, certainly none of us currently on the Board have had to do this.

    I really don't want to have an uncontrolled session where the complaints are read and then we end up in a pointless hearsay conversation going round and round to nowhere. Obviously we need to present the issues, required corrective actions, and consequences of inaction. It should be short and sweet, all business, and the Board must not have its authority challenged.

    Does anyone have a written format or experience on the disciplinarian side on how to run this kind of closed-door meeting most effectively?
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  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber Halligan84's Avatar
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    You need to have at least a 2 part meeting. The employee's union or a volunteer representative should be with him at the time. The first part would be to gather facts related to the case. Simply laying out allegations is sure to put the accused on the defensive and control may be lost. Script a series of questions to outline the complaints and allow the accused to respond. Always allow the accused to fully discuss his version of the complaint. At this point the meeting would be adjourned and the committee meets to review the notes, discuss any new facts presented, perform additional investigation as required and then either return for follow up questioning or gain consensus on the discipline and administer it.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    if you give me an email I can send you a copy of our guideline so you can make one of your own.

    dickeydo@charter.net
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    We have a member who has generated complaints from inside and outside of the department. Our bylaws require the Review Board (of which I am part of) to handle this matter. There is apparently no written guidance on how this should be handled.

    I would think the first thing to be done is find out the member's rights and advise him of what they are.

    Secondly, if you are a member of the "Review Board", did you ever take the time to find out what that entails? Seems to me your review board should be reviewing the review board and whomever appointed it's members without any written policy.

  5. #5
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    If I were you, I would give up now. Spare yourself the embarassment.

    Loo is right about the member's rights. They are paramount. But how can you advise him of his rights under the by laws if they are not written down? You will be making it up as you go along. That is a sure-fire way to get your FD sued. That begs the question, what are you going to do if he brings a lawyer? What protection do you have if he accuses you of slander or libel?

    Most vol. FD's have pathetic rules and regulations that provide little more than window dressing when it comes to disciplinary proceedings. It is very possible that a court could put your FD in the same category as a public employer. With no written procedures, you are done.

    Seems to me that you should put the time and effort into the adoption of some meaningful rules and regulations (screw "by-laws") and hope he screws up again.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    George, don't you sleep? I thought I was the only "Midnight Rambler"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by E229Lt
    George, don't you sleep? I thought I was the only "Midnight Rambler"
    Stupid dog. I haven't trained her to read a clock, yet.

  8. #8
    Forum Member RLFD14's Avatar
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    As you guys have probably figured out, this volunteer department's documentation and protocols are not all that well developed - which drives me to no end of frustration - but I am still (relatively) new to this particular outfit and am not yet in a position to influence/improve things based on my previous experiences without causing greater immediate harm.

    Quote Originally Posted by E229Lt
    if you are a member of the "Review Board", did you ever take the time to find out what that entails? Seems to me your review board should be reviewing the review board and whomever appointed it's members without any written policy.
    Generally the board's duty is to ensure members are meeting attendance obligations, and to apply consequences defined in the bylaws for failure to meet these requirements. This is done routinely. The bylaws also state that the review board is responsible for managing events such as this complaint, but as the thread states they do not supply guidance on how to go about it. So, yes, I found out what it entailed right away, at least to the limits of what was in writing. Obviously it is not complete, and that is why I started this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Most vol. FD's have pathetic rules and regulations that provide little more than window dressing when it comes to disciplinary proceedings. It is very possible that a court could put your FD in the same category as a public employer. With no written procedures, you are done.
    Yeah George, that is basically the situation. That's why I am here, to try to get an idea of what we're missing and fill in the holes before we get embarrassed.

    I think the tone of this thread got a little sideways and you guys are reiterating my point but sounding like you are rebutting me a bit, lol. I know we're weak here in this area, and the solution is to learn how other agencies do it, not to be reminded of what we are lacking.

    Thanks.
    You only have to be stupid once to be dead permanently
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  9. #9
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    What you are missing is, that unless this stuff was spelled out prior to the infractions, you are too late. You can't make it up after the fact and then apply it to what a member did BEFORE you adopted the new rules. It's commendable that you have recognized the problem. But you need to fix it for the next guy. This guy should get a pass.

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