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  • Lt with no experience

    Allright guys this is my first post in a while. In my department the elections are coming up for this years officers. I have a really big problem because there is someone who has ff1 but not national. Just took it and couldnt pass. He has been a member for 7 years but spent 6 of them on a ship in the navy. He comes back and thinks he owns this place and is now running for LT. with only 1 year of experience and couldnt even pass ff1. There are 4 guys running for the position but i think he is a top canidate bc of the whole favorites thing bc his dad has been a member for years. What is your guys opinion and what do you think I should do bc I respect the position even if I don't like the person but i'm not gonna take orders from someone that has less experience then I do. Exspecially only a year. So what should I do bc our new bylaws havent gone into effect until 2012 and whats your opinion?

  • #2
    Frankly, if you're still selecting line officers by popular vote, your department has deeper problems than this particular candidate.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
    sigpic
    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    • #3
      There are a whole lot of things you can do ---- but I can tell you what I wouldnt do. Get on a national forum and complain. Handle it face to face.
      ?

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      • #4
        l

        Im not complaining i'm just seeing what you guys would do. And yes are department is a little stupid when it comes to voting bc they kind of go with popular more then experience.

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        • #5
          Don't let it bother you. Vote for the person most qualified for the position. Even if he is elected, You don't need to respect the person, but you do need to respect the position this person was put into.

          -Damien

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          • #6
            l

            I always have respected the position and always will. It's gonna be tough tho when he is telling you one thing but yet you know you might be able to do it faster and more efficent?

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            • #7
              I take it this is a volunteer department.

              Un-volunteer.
              Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

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              • #8
                There are only a few things you can do, but only 1 is going to be effective.
                You can;
                1) Come here and bitch.
                2) Quit
                3) Work hard and get yourself into a position to change the way officers are selected.
                Your choice.
                My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
                "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
                George Mason
                Co-author of the Second Amendment
                during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
                Elevator Rescue Information

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                • #9
                  I don't have a problem with a guy bringing that question here...

                  Its a legitimate problem, and highlights a problem that many of us have faced.

                  Electing officers... I think that most VFD's still do this (mine does). I don't like the process, but there are things that can be done to mitigate the harmful effects.

                  Look, hiring and promoting officers without elections doesn't prevent some real "winners" from achieving rank.

                  That said, there should be some standards in place to ensure that qualified people get chosen for the position. If its the choice of the whole department, a board, or by the Chief himself.
                  I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

                  "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

                  "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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                  • #10
                    I dont have a problem with people coming on here and asking a question. I do think it is a waste of time to ask a question that you already know the answer to. Set some standards -mininum attendance - years on the dept - certs - if you meet these standards - then you take a test - highest score gets the position.
                    Tailor these basics to your needs. But none of us can do that out here in cyberland. It has to be done by the members of the department.
                    ?

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                    • #11
                      As stated, the best way to solve these problems is to set training, attendance and time in service standards. Also, having some mix of elections and appointed officers may help somewhat. It could also create issues with having a given clique in charge.

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                      • #12
                        Many volunteer fire departments are essentially islands. They answer only to themselves, thus set their own standards, etc. Politics are always present, and all too often an impediment to progress, since the political "leaders" are chiefly interested in maintaining their status quo.

                        Changing things from within is often an exercise in futility, unless you join the 'dark side.' And that's the side we usually need to change from, not to. Want to increase the mandated training hours? Better hope the 'opinion leaders' are agreeable to the requirement, otherwise you stand a snowball's chance in Hades of making it happen.

                        Changing the way things work often requires an outside influence - ie, the governing body has to step in (if there is one).

                        That said, I have to believe that some fire departments have the foresight, as a whole, to elect effective leaders.

                        The flip side of that is that many effective leaders don't want the headaches and the hassles, so they don't even run.

                        As for my own fire department, the chiefs and the engineer foreman (in charge of the trucks) are elected. Captains and lieutenants are appointed by the chief (with input from the assistant chiefs).
                        Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                        Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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                        • #13
                          Promotion

                          <
                          Very poor attitude, there are always going to be members promoted who are younger, less years on the job or with less experience that you have. As others have said, respect the position, and educate yourself so you know more than the officers. Why? So you know if their orders are safe and sound.

                          I can't believe in this business officers positions are still dolled out by popular vote. Where is the safety factor in that? I believe the authorities in charge should change that policy immediately. I can't think of a single reason to continue picking leaders by popularity.

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                          • #14
                            Lack of experience is an issue that many VFDs face.

                            While my volunteer department's officer positions are appointed by the Chief (who is appointed by the board) after an application and interview process, we still end up with LTs and sometimes even Captains with a minimal amount of fire experience. In our case, it's simply due to a lack of significant runs to gain experience.

                            No "process" in the world can change that. We currently have no set standards but generally speaking, the applicant with the highest level of certifications will be chosen. There are exceptions as at times, the person with the certs may have much less experience than another candidate with far more fireground experience.

                            In fact, the 2 new LTs appointed with me both have very little fireground experience, which has sparked some debate. But the problem is they had more than anyone else who applied. So what do you do? Leave the positions vacant and run short of officers? Both are making efforts to train but he experience is hard to come by when the department runs 20-25 total fire calls, including brush, trash and vehicle, per year. That is the issue with many rural FDs - experience.

                            While we could debate paper v. experience all night long, the important thing is that at least, we use a process to get from point A to point B.

                            My combo department has paid and volunteer captains, and while the paid captains are appointed after a civil service test, the volunteer captains are not tested. Experience and training/certifications are generally not an issue there however.

                            As far as your situation, change comes slowly. If there are enough people on your department that feel the same way, work as a group to change the system, as other posters have stated. This will take time. If the majority like the current system, the change may not come at all.
                            Last edited by LaFireEducator; 10-11-2010, 08:17 PM.
                            Train to fight the fires you fight.

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                            • #15
                              A look from the outside.....

                              I fully agree with those that have pointed-out that there is a deeper issue here... As far as the "safety issue" I can see the common sense behind that. If there is to be an investigation and the Chief is asked what qualifications the Lt. has that prompted him to accept the vote and he says "well the majority voted for him" any good Lawyer is going to have a field-day and tear that apart.

                              But then again, you're in the situation now and want some advice on how to deal with it. Educate yourself to make sure you're not given an unsafe order (good advice), take it face-to-face (good advice), talk to the others that are voting and share your concerns with them and if you're that concerned don't show-up on calls that they're on. There's another thought process here though, give the fella a chance you just might be surprised... If you're on scene and see something that the Lt. has done unsafe or that you don't agree with then you have concrete ammo to second-guess the Lt.

                              You have a few options... Pick the one that works best for you.
                              "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

                              Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

                              Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....

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