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Line officer issues

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  • Line officer issues

    So I'm a third year chief and I'm having an issue with a lower line officer. He doesn't respect me much and bad mouths me and other chief officers. He has a complex that he's better than everyone in the dept including myself and challenges my authority whenever he can. If I tell him no or another way I want something done he gets angry. Recently he's call jumped a few of our neighboring dept calls stating "he was right there". The problem is we can't afford to lose him because he's an emt and a decent fireman plus we're a small rural dept and can't afford to lose any members. Any thoughts on how to handle it?

  • #2
    Make him a chief while he still knows it all... [/sarcasm]
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

    Comment


    • #3

      What is your departments discipline process ?

      Comment


      • #4
        It seems like you have several issues with this one officer, let me try to address each individually.
        Originally posted by 18firefighter16 View Post
        So I'm a third year chief and I'm having an issue with a lower line officer.
        You are the chief, so the buck stop with you. You are accountable for all your officers, and anything they do is done by your authority. While I am sure you know this, I want to make sure you understand that all his authority comes directly from you, and any of his screwups are also attributed to you.
        Originally posted by 18firefighter16 View Post
        He doesn't respect me much and bad mouths me and other chief officers.
        why not? does he bad mouth you internally or externally? does he think he could do a better job? does he think you are doing a bad job? Maybe he is just trying to show off because he wants to be chief one day, and thinks the best way to do that is by showing how you aren't doing a good job? I have no problems with officers disagreeing behind closed doors, but in public you need to have a united front to show the membership that the chief is in charge and the officers are acting at the delegated direction of the chief.

        If he has a solution to issues, he can gladly discuss it with the rest of the officer. if he is just going to whine about things, and not work towards a solution, there is the door.
        Originally posted by 18firefighter16 View Post
        He has a complex that he's better than everyone in the dept including myself and challenges my authority whenever he can.
        You're the chief. maybe he is better than everyone else. but your still the chief. if he doesn't like it, follow your disciplinary program in your department up to and including there is there door.
        Originally posted by 18firefighter16 View Post
        If I tell him no or another way I want something done he gets angry.
        major warning sign. we have all gotten frustrated when something doesn't go our way (especially being type A personalities), but consistently getting angry when being told no? maybe this isn't the field for him. But it can also be a sign of immaturity.
        Originally posted by 18firefighter16 View Post
        Recently he's call jumped a few of our neighboring dept calls stating "he was right there".
        what does that mean? he jumped an EMS call in his POV? or he was in a department vehicle and was driving by? Was he helpful on the scene (did the right thing by the public until the AHJ arrived, at which point he turned it over to them), or did they complain about his actions? or was he in a fire engine with a full crew and left the station to help out someone else because he was bored?
        Originally posted by 18firefighter16 View Post
        The problem is we can't afford to lose him because he's an emt and a decent fireman plus we're a small rural dept and can't afford to lose any members. Any thoughts on how to handle it?
        1) sounds like this person shouldn't be an officer, at least not at this time.

        2) while I understand being a volunteer department and not affording to lose people, this guy sounds like he could be contributing to a negative culture at the station, which is never good. sometimes if a troublemaker is dismissed others become more active

        3) based on just what you have said, he sounds like a powder keg waiting to go off. And when it does happen, the blame will fall squarely on you, as the chief, for failing to prevent it. I'm assuming he's appointed by the members of the department and not chosen by you: If you can't remove him from a supervisory position, suspend him for as long as you can, until the behavior changes. This isn't punitive, but a good leader cannot let the actions that you describe to continue without any repercussions.
        If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

        FF/EMT/DBP

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by drparasite View Post
          Maybe he is just trying to show off because he wants to be chief one day, and thinks the best way to do that is by showing how you aren't doing a good job?
          I have, through the years, encountered more than a few people who deal with their own inadequacies not by improving themselves but by running down everyone they perceive to be a threat to their desired superiority. People usually see through them, especially because eventually they've run down just about everyone.

          Know of a chief who wanted to leave his own legacy and attempted to do so by devaluing/removing the legacies of his predecessors. One member was suspended due to his "legacy" because that member blacked out part of the dome on a rear stanchion light that shined/reflected directly into the eyes of the driver. That doing so made the light comply with accepted standards didn't seem to matter. He didn't last long as chief - made too many enemies in too short a time..
          Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

          Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

          Comment


          • #6
            Okay, here's my take on this. At this point it doesn't matter how good an EMT or firefighter he is because he is a source of constant turmoil. Sit him down with your Assistant Chief and explain clearly in detail what you expect of him, follow that up with a clear explanation of the progressive discipline procedures you will use if he fails to comply. Number 1 being removal as an officer if his behavior continues and potential removal from the department if he doesn't comply.

            Here's where you are, and let me be blunt, if you don't end this now you will no longer be in charge of the department, he will. Others are already seeing it and seeing you aren't stopping it.

            I was a volunteer fire chief and i had a member that was disruptive at meetings. I would try to implement a policy change, or change something on the rigs, or change the way we did something and if he didn't like it he would announce loudly at the meeting that if i did that he would quit. This went on for months and finally at one meeting after his usual announcement I said "We'll miss you but this change is occurring." He asked me what i meant and I said "Well you said you would quit if we made this change and we are making this change. So I am assuming you'll quit. So we'll miss you." He sunk back in his chair because I sucked the wind out of his sails. I had hoped he might stay, but after the meeting he turned in his pager and quit. Not the outcome I had wanted but that particular problem ended that night.
            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


            • #7
              Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
              Here's where you are, and let me be blunt, if you don't end this now you will no longer be in charge of the department, he will. Others are already seeing it and seeing you aren't stopping it.
              OP, this exactly.
              Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
              I was a volunteer fire chief and i had a member that was disruptive at meetings. I would try to implement a policy change, or change something on the rigs, or change the way we did something and if he didn't like it he would announce loudly at the meeting that if i did that he would quit. This went on for months and finally at one meeting after his usual announcement I said "We'll miss you but this change is occurring." He asked me what i meant and I said "Well you said you would quit if we made this change and we are making this change. So I am assuming you'll quit. So we'll miss you." He sunk back in his chair because I sucked the wind out of his sails. I had hoped he might stay, but after the meeting he turned in his pager and quit. Not the outcome I had wanted but that particular problem ended that night.
              Your more tolerant than I would have been. After the third time, I would have said "Sorry to hear, your resignation is accepted, please turn in your gear and pager before you leave tonight."

              I understand needing all qualified manpower, especially on a volunteer department; but never forget that you lead the department, you make the decisions that they need to follow, and while everyone has their right to their opinion (especially before the call comes out), once the decision is made, they can either accept it or use the door. It's as simple as that.
              If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

              FF/EMT/DBP

              Comment


              • #8
                Sounds like he needs a beating with the chain of command.
                Two departments, twice the fun...

                Comment


                • #9
                  No matter how skillful a person is, the attitude will either develop better or worsen the culture of your department.
                  Last edited by connor02; 06-12-2018, 09:29 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    All fire depts. in this day and age are no longer social clubs. If you don't have any rules of conduct, you need to come up with some NOW! As others have said, if you don't get rid of this bad apple now, you're risking spoiling the whole bunch. Don't put up with it, just because you THINK he's a good firefighter, you'll probably not miss him when he's gone.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would love the OP to come back and give us an update.
                      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

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