1. #1
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    Default Officer Selection

    Officer selection.....

    I am aware that this is not just a problem in my call department, and thought that I would ask for some opinion on it.

    When there is an officer's position open in my department, the position is posted for "all who wish to apply". There are minimal prerequisites to apply for the job that are easily obtained by the majority of firefighters.

    Word around the firehouse or scuttlebutt is always hard to contain, as we all know, and usually the Chief's preferred selection (before resumes are even in) is being talked about.

    Now, After weeks of filling in for officers on calls, to be "observed".....a selection is finally made....but first I'll list the candidates for you:

    1. Moderate amount of experience, moderate certification & training
    2. Moderate amount of experience, large amount of certifications & training
    3. Moderate amount of experience, minimal certification, moderate amount of training
    4. Minimal amount of experience, minimal certification, moderate training
    5. Minimal amount of experience, minimal certification, moderate training
    6. Minimal amount of experience, no certification, minimal training

    Now, there was NO interview process what-so-ever....which was a shock to those who were applying for the position. Let me repeat that...NO interview process at all!

    #5 received the officer's appointment. #5 has very little experience in the fire department, and virtually none on the fireground. They also do not have any pertinent certifications (aside from basic FF and EMT). #1, #2, and #3 all seem to be better candidates.

    So....how did #5 receive the appointment? The word in the firehouse....and the probable truth (I won't say definite, because nobody except the Chief knows for sure) is that the newly appointed officer is a friend of the Chief's family! The friend part is a definite, the reason for appointing....who can say....but it looks bad.

    So.....here is my question: How does a group of firefighters, who are sick of the "good 'ol boys club" running the show, make a positive change in the promotional practices of it's fire department?

    Any ideas or suggestions will be greatly appreciated, Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TrainingNut
    So.....here is my question: How does a group of firefighters, who are sick of the "good 'ol boys club" running the show, make a positive change in the promotional practises of it's fire department?

    Any ideas or suggestions will be greatly appreciated, Thank you.
    Well, without knowing all the operational details of your dept (i.e. elected or appointed Chief, bylaws, administrative reporting structure, etc.) I see two options:

    1. Do your time, show some initiative, let your Chief know you are keenly interested, and go for it yourself. You can change it slowly from within.

    2. Get the dept organized, and make your case to the Chief to change the practise with a formal procedure and written policy. You or someone else should be prepared to offer help in this process, as nobody likes to be given extra work with no help.

    And you also have to realize that the volunteer or POC system is not perfect, but neither is any other system. Obviously choosing lesser-qualified people can be problematic and possibly even dangerous, but choosing on certs and experience alone may get a complacent and unmotivated (or even obstructive) officer who is no better for the department in the end. The standard career dept competition systems may seem like the ideal way, but they do not adequately consider the entire dynamic of managing a volunteer/POC department.

    Around these parts, Chief's are elected by the membership every two years, and they have sole choice in who their officers will be. There are no bylaws or guidelines regarding officer selection. We have recently drafted our own, but the final choice always rests with the Chief (that's me right now).

    Right or wrong, when you are a Chief working for free, the last thing you want is a difficult or unmotivated officer below you.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mcaldwell
    Well, without knowing all the operational details of your dept (i.e. elected or appointed Chief, bylaws, administrative reporting structure, etc.) I see two options:

    1. Do your time, show some initiative, let your Chief know you are keenly interested, and go for it yourself. You can change it slowly from within.
    The Chief is appointed every 3 years.

    I was one of the people who applied for the position.

    Thank you for the advice Chief.

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