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Charleston FD; Training Chief Quits "Under Duress"

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  • Charleston FD; Training Chief Quits "Under Duress"

    http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2...g-chief-quits/

  • #2
    Everyone of us can learn something here if someone that's "in the know" about this situation can shed a little light for the rest of us.

    Is the guy a complete *********, thinking he was going to turn the department upside down in two years? I get the feeling that may be what the situation is ( or was ).

    I believe, as a whole, the department knows that things need to change-just not as fast as an outsider wanted it to.

    Comment


    • #3
      It's a tough situation. Imagine the pressure of coming in on the heels of a 9-LODD incident and being told to revamp the training program. You know you'll meet resistance; do you risk a backlash and proceed as you know you should, or do you try to upgrade things more gradually and catch heat for moving too slowly?

      There's probably plenty of blame for both sides. Everybody in the situation just needs to remember how important it is to avoid another incident like the Sofa Super Store and do their best to improve things.
      “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
      ― Hunter S. Thompson

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by engineeremtp View Post
        Everyone of us can learn something here if someone that's "in the know" about this situation can shed a little light for the rest of us.

        Is the guy a complete *********, thinking he was going to turn the department upside down in two years? I get the feeling that may be what the situation is ( or was ).

        I believe, as a whole, the department knows that things need to change-just not as fast as an outsider wanted it to.
        I get the feeling that's what happened too. The guy came in and tried to implement some massive changes and when guys started complaining the chief let him sink. But if that's the case, is it a bad thing? This department just suffered a massive loss, a loss the investigation showed was largely due to, among other things, poor training. It sounds like the place definitely needed to be turned upside down...and fast. Being an outsider should have nothing to do with it, but I certainly recognize that's often not the case.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Chief_Roy View Post
          Being an outsider should have nothing to do with it, but I certainly recognize that's often not the case.
          Unless you're coming in with a stack of well-recognized (by the rank and file) credibility - you're still an outsider. An outsider who doesn't know "how we work here."

          It does appear that the guy was given "Mission, Impossible," and when things went sour, management "disavowed any knowledge of your actions..."
          Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

          Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

          Comment


          • #6
            I can speak from experience here. It takes an outsider to remain objective. There is no honeymoon for the new guy since resentment and mistrust begins on day one. An insider is too complacent and not committed to change it like a new face can. The insider is part of the problem because he is part of the system. More and more, municipals are hiring from outside for this reason.

            While the new guy's credibility might be a concern, if he has a mandate, that is all he needs, along with some intestional fortitude and patience. It doesn't hurt to have the ability to recognize BS and dispose of it quickly. "The way we work here" is part of the problem which usually leads to the situation. A major change is required to end current practices and establish new ones.

            Without support of the Elected Officials, it will never work. In this case it looks like he still had a Chief to answer to as well. It does not matter what the rank and file dictates, in this kind of situation. They are compelled to do it. There are too many eyes watching this situation. If it becomes known that resistance came from the department members, then I predict early retirements will begin as part of the overhaul.

            The status quo does not carry water any more. Too many incidents are waiting to blow up. Couple that with watchdogs... you get the point.
            HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

            Comment


            • #7
              Chief Ghi was not an unknown quantity to the Charleston FD. He came to them with 30 years of experience, that included being a training officer, and a Battalion Chief supervising firefighters in the field. He was hired SPECIFICALLY to upgrade the Charleston FD's training program.

              My feeling is he was fighting a losing battle from the onset. He met resistance to change from the rank and file and then when a new chief was hired he was tainted by the fact that he was an outsider hired under the old regime.

              The only thing I question of Chief Ghi is why would anyone so close to retirement leave a stable job to go into the middle of what was sure to be a never ending hornet's nest of problems?
              Crazy, but that's how it goes
              Millions of people living as foes
              Maybe it's not too late
              To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

              Comment


              • #8
                Some days I ask myself the same question...

                I think for him it was a chance to really change something that sorely needed to be changed. It wasn't for the recognition or to build a resume. From what I know about him, he is just kind of like that. "See a problem, fix it."
                HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by FyredUp View Post

                  The only thing I question of Chief Ghi is why would anyone so close to retirement leave a stable job to go into the middle of what was sure to be a never ending hornet's nest of problems?
                  My thoughts exactly. What Charleston needs/needed was somebody like an Alan Brunacini; somebody who was already retired from their last job and had nothing to lose by bending a couple of noses out of joint. Someone who has nothing to lose by telling people that there's a new sheriff in town and he has a new set of rules. If you don't like it, there's the door. And while you're opening the door, do you mind holding it open for the 500 or so people who are waiting to replace you?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chief_Roy View Post
                    My thoughts exactly. What Charleston needs/needed was somebody like an Alan Brunacini; somebody who was already retired from their last job and had nothing to lose by bending a couple of noses out of joint. Someone who has nothing to lose by telling people that there's a new sheriff in town and he has a new set of rules. If you don't like it, there's the door. And while you're opening the door, do you mind holding it open for the 500 or so people who are waiting to replace you?
                    Your forgetting Chief Ghi ws not he top dog, and as such couldn't show 500 people the door. In this case they basically showed him the door, with the Fire Chief holding for them. Right or wrong, I don't know, but I don't believe some retiree in a Hawaiian shirt would have had success without the Fire Chief's backing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RFDACM02 View Post
                      Your forgetting Chief Ghi ws not he top dog, and as such couldn't show 500 people the door. In this case they basically showed him the door, with the Fire Chief holding for them. Right or wrong, I don't know, but I don't believe some retiree in a Hawaiian shirt would have had success without the Fire Chief's backing.
                      Not only wasn't he the top dog, he was the former chief's choice to turn the department around. The fact that the rank and file didn't like him was an easy excuse for the new chief to not back him, or even give him a clear vision of what the mission was. A new broom sweeps clean and sometimes the wrong people end up in the trash bin.

                      I don't think Brunacini would have been a good fit at all here. There is no time for psychological mumbo jumbo, this FD needs fixing before they have another tragedy. AND this fixing calls for an *** kicker not an *** kisser.
                      Crazy, but that's how it goes
                      Millions of people living as foes
                      Maybe it's not too late
                      To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Fire Chief Thomas Carr came from Maryland where he was a top notch member and Chief Officer. I can't believe that he would have messed with Jimmy Ghi as it has been reported. He should have been more supportive.

                        Jimmy Ghi was a top notch Chief Officer in Fairfax County, VA. He was well liked and most everyone hated to see him leave.

                        It could well be that the members in Charleston got the old red arz when their old Chief hired Ghi as the new Training Chief, instead of making one of the boys the new training chief.

                        Sometimes bringing in an outsider works very well and then there are the times that it don't. Both Ghi and Carr are very knowledgeable in all aspects of Training. It should have been a seamless operation.

                        Tom will be stepping down soon as his health is not good.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Despite these difficulties, Ghi said, about 100 recruits were trained under his watch, training expanded from an eight-day course to 20 weeks of intensive instruction, and the city came in line with federal and state standards.
                          Maybe someone wanted to keep churning out highly skilled, professional firefighters in 8 days.
                          RK
                          cell #901-494-9437

                          Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

                          "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


                          Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MemphisE34a View Post
                            Maybe someone wanted to keep churning out highly skilled, professional firefighters in 8 days.
                            It's worked well for them so far...... What do you want?
                            Get the first line into operation.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MemphisE34a View Post
                              Maybe someone wanted to keep churning out highly skilled, professional firefighters in 8 days.
                              Actually, some of the comments in the Post and Courier indicate that the 20 week recruit school wasn't turning out highly skilled, professional firefighters. One of the posters stated that one recruit only pulled a handline once during his 20 weeks and another only participated in a hydrant drill one time. The poster stated that they provided testimony to this fact to the Fire Chief.

                              They did run a 50 man recruit school. That is a large class for a department that didn't have recruit schools up until only a few years ago. Maybe that had something to do with it. Maybe I'll call a few buddies down there. I'm sure there is much more to this story.
                              I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

                              One friend noted yesterday that a fire officer only carries a flashlight, sometimes prompting grumbling from firefighters who have to lug tools and hoses.
                              "The old saying is you never know how heavy that flashlight can become," the friend said.
                              -from a tragic story posted on firefighterclosecalls.com

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