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Does your Fire Chief need a swift kick back to reality?

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  • #16
    We started a program many years ago that allowed for new blood to be brought into the leadership of the department. Our Chief's term is for 5 years only. This allows him/her enough time to make any changes or steer the department thier way. In my 20 years, I have been under the leadership of 4 Chief's and have seen some good and bad decisions come from them. If I could I would take the best of all 4 and create a
    "SUPERCHIEF". This is because each one had their great strengths which were different from the others before them.
    The other good thing about this program is it allows the advancement of Junior Officers in a scheduled progression. It also gives a officer enough time in each postion to gain experience before moving up. This is not a automatic promotional event because we require a written test , oral board and minimum training to be qualified to move up.

    " The opinions stated by me are my own and may not be those represented of the department I belong to"
    "Fire Prevention is our Intention"

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    • #17
      hctrouble25, Amen brother... I say "The making of a good leader begins as a good follower". Of course, some people are just incorrigible.

      stay safe, Frank
      Chief Frank Rizzio
      Pea Ridge Fire Dept.sigpic
      Pea Ridge AR. 72751

      Comment


      • #18
        ok this story may sound alittle strange but I would like to say it is also completeley the truth.
        The story is about our present chief and about how he is completely destroying our department it started back in 1994 when our one chief resigned due to a job he took with a worldwide chemical manufacturing company OMG in the years he was chief he set up certain training requirments an accountability system and had all these programs going, but when the problem started the chief that took office after him (due to popularity and not good leading skills)was primed to keep all of these things in place and running but he found out he had cancer and let our assistant chief take on as acting chief which was the worst thing that would happen to our department. This person who was acting chief let the oppertunity for our department to become fully FF1, and urban search and rescue certified and many other things because "he didn't feel they were necessarry" he also let the accountability slide into a situation of looking to see who is on scene instead of not just knowing with the accountability system, and things just got worse he let in house training go because he felt it was not important, and things just kept getting worse but how worse could they possibly get? much worse. And one day everything in our department went straight to hell that day was 1-11-01, this person had just been reelected to a chief's position and had been sworn in only for 4 day's along with all of our officer's of 2001 when a normal structure fire turned out to be deadly to one of our guy's. the house was a single story house which was a double wide trailer and had a basement underneath, But what I am saying is this person's bad leading and decision making skills and inability to look bad in front of other departments by not letting a house burn to the ground and doing defensive firefighting he decided to continue offensive interior firefighting in what was described by many of the firefighter's inside as literally hell it was soo hot and soo smokey many older member's were comented saying they had never seen anything like it before in their entire career as volunteer's, But this decision to not pull out and surround and drowned proved fatal for one of our guy's who we didn't know was in thier when the one room flashed and our one member came out a window on fire and was taken to a hospital while all that was going on one of our member's was trapped inside frantically trying to get out and this is where bad leadership skills comes in. The person inside was an officer he had radios and minimum training as a firefighter but had been doing it for about 13 years, our chiefs inability at the time to hold a firefighter survuval class at the suggestion of many state of pa fire instructor's who are also member's of our department because he felt it was unneccesary, and the fact that he never told anyone to vent the roofwhich would have lessened the smoke and heat inside, and he ignored suggestions from other officer's under him to pull out in the end this simple little fire had claimed one firefighter's life, injured another and in the end the house was a complete loss, But it doesn't stop there it does get worse in the month's to follow our department pulled together and for a short time everything was going in the direction it should be and our chief got an accountability system up and running and we started investing in things like thermal imaging and the GEMS sytem an automated accountability system, but things slide back to the way they were before the things that NIOSH pointed out to have caused the death of our firefighter was denied by our chief because he "didn't do anything wrong" and it was "by the book" he wouldn't let us have certain training because he din't want to schedule it and we tried to vote him out this year but it didn't work him and more of his good ole boy buddies are now in control of our department and we are afraid of what may happen next and now may we all see the reason their is a such thing as criticism because if you don't let someone know they are doing a bad job then they will continue to get worse and worse and worse we are curently trying to find a way to get this chief out of office and someone who tried to run for chief and was ready to do the job and make change and put our department back on track into the position of chief.

        So in the end this one chief has literaly destroyed our department and because of his way's of doing things our department has suffered and our community has suffered as well with more people walking away and less people showing for calls it makes our department look very bad and all of this was the result of one man a chief who should never have been chief so the lesson here is simple don't elect people into a position because they are cool or have a good personality elect good officer's the mover's and the shakers the people who can get the job done and make change.
        David McFeaters
        FF/EMT
        R.G.V.F.D. 21-1

        Comment


        • #19
          Chief Rizzo - Thanks! I definitely believe that most members in any orginzation will bitch at some point in time. But bitch to the right people about the right things. Last time I checked I didn't read minds, and I doubt our Chief, Asst. Chief, Captain, Safety Officer, etc. do either. If you don't speak up about something then you have no reason to bitch..just like voting..if you don't vote, then don't bitch when something doesn't go the way you wanted it to. Be there to vote on it and have your voice heard or keep quiet. I am considered a "bitch" by many on my department because I am the only active female and I speak my mind whenever I feel it necessary. We all make mistakes, including officers, and leaders. Having Chief in front of your name does not make you SuperFireFighter! That is for sure. I trust my officers, but I also talk to them about issues I have, things I want to do, etc. That way I take responsibility for myself...you know, like an adult. Oh well, I guess no department will ever be perfect. But if you do your part and take responsibility for your own words and actions, then no one can fault you. Unfortunately you cannot change others and that is usually where the problem lies. Take care.
          Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

          Comment


          • #20
            so hc... is your middle name really "Trouble"?
            Chief Frank Rizzio
            Pea Ridge Fire Dept.sigpic
            Pea Ridge AR. 72751

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            • #21
              Actually that is my nickname because they say I can find trouble or get in the middle of trouble even if I sit in a room of people for 12 hours straight and don't say a word that somehow some way, I will be in the middle of some topic of conversation. Because I speak my mind sometimes people feel it necessary to put words in my mouth..I guess they haven't figured out yet that I can do that all by myself. haha

              [ 01-09-2002: Message edited by: hctrouble25 ]

              Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

              Comment


              • #22
                Well I agree with Nick SBFD6, ya never know who reads these posts and it's a really small world.

                Schmidt, I'm not sure what you mean by a mutt but just exactly what do you find offensive about your Chief Jack?

                Is it his lack of love for the job, his lack of physical fitness, his lack of discipline, or his lack of education and training?

                While I don't usually comment regarding other peoples problems, I'm just not sure what you mean by broken. What's broken, is it the brand new fleet of fire apparatus that the city bought?

                Just curious.

                [ 01-09-2002: Message edited by: amfm ]

                Comment


                • #23
                  sgtdave2002-
                  You just had to go there, didn't you? Read on.
                  firefighter/EMT21-1-
                  Completely the truth? How long is your nose by now? A double wide trailer is not a house. It is a home; a mobile home. It is rolled in on wheels. Pre-fab and lightweight. Regardless, the interior deteriorated to a five pucker factor. Why did you stay in? Who forced you to stay in? Were you chained to a chair? YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU! Where was your interior command? Why didn't he pull you out? Why did ANYONE have to be told to ventilate? You call it a "simple, little fire" but also described it as so hot and so smokey. Doesn't sound like a simple, little fire to me.
                  If NIOSH investigated, are you saying that they concluded that the chief caused your FF's death? There weren't several, contributing factors?
                  Chief wouldn't schedule training? What; no training officers? Couldn't you go outside of the department for training?
                  "Afraid of what might happen next".How about taking training in building construction and fire behavior?
                  Where were your "movers and shakers" on the day you lost a brother? If they are qualified to be chief as you contend, where were they on that day?
                  You make it sound like the chief is this all powerful being and there's nothing that you can do, but air your dirty laundry. If it is as bad as you say it is, then the bomb is ticking on a short timer and instead of defusing it, you're going to let it explode and then throw in an "I told you so".
                  Did it occur to you that you might be part of the problem?
                  Here is my piece of advice: lead, follow or get the hell out of the way!
                  Am I defending your chief? No, and I sure as hell won't defend your actions either.
                  Fix the problem. Let me say it again: fix.....the.....problem.
                  The next time you post, post about how you fixed the problem.
                  If one guy can mess it up as badly as you say, then certainly one guy(YOU) can fix it.
                  Go get some.
                  Stay safe.
                  The opinions expressed are mine; at least, that's what the little guy in my head tells me.
                  Visit www.iacoj.com
                  Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
                  RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    pwc606
                    Yea, ya just don't know who is gonna see this. For your information as well as for any others who might read your post, Chief Jack in Richmond wasn't "sent out" like chief Few. The City Manager of Richmond seeked out Chief Jack. Chief Jack was very comfortable in Clayton County and from what I could tell was well liked, even by most of those in the field. Sometimes you just can't please 'em all now can you.

                    Maybe you and Schmidtee have legit reasons for being upset with your Chief. What efforts have you made to try to resolve your problems, besides bit#@%ng and complaining in public forums.

                    Schmidtee, seems to think that leadership can only come from the top. Wonder where all those guys would be who found themselves pinned down on Omaha beach, June 6, 1944, if some lowly liuetenants and captains didn't take some initiative and move their men forward of the beach. The orders for those men to do what they had to do didn't come from Eisenhour or Bradley or Patton.

                    I agree that the example can be set at the top, but Schmidtee hasn't been specific about what it is that Chief Jack has done to warrent such verbal abuse on such a public forum.

                    There is an old adage and I wish I could remember who told me. "Don't argue with an idiot. Sometimes those around you won't be able to tell the difference." Maybe Chief Jack is just taking a page out of that book.

                    I also have had some really bad bosses. But Jack wasn't one of them. When I see a honorable person that I know getting a black eye from someone, I have a tendency to get a little ticked, particularly when one calls into question the mans integrity.

                    I also didn't go on a public forum and bash the guy(s) that I thought were bad bosses. Why, you might ask? Because none of it can be good for the organization. That doesn't mean that I won't work for change from within the organization.

                    That's brings up another thing that I got from Schmidtees little laundry episode. Couldn't take what ever it was so he had to quit. Hmmmmm, what was the saying about quiters and losing????

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Glad to see that Jacksonville, FL is not the only city experiencing this problem. Our Cheif is not even certified in our state! And now he has the backing of our General Counsel along with the Mayor. This place is a mess and now we family members of firefighters have started to pursue these issues with the city council. I thank all of you for the job you do. Check out Jacksonville.com for more info on our scandalous town.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Chief reason

                        I stated in my first post about me and alot of other people trying to make change and it doesn't work when someone can pull people out of the woodwork to get votes and win. Our department does not have any position called interior command officer we have interior officer's lieutenants, and captains, and once in a while an assistant chief.

                        I would also like to say that on the day that this happened our MOVERS and SHAKERS were there to, one was pumping a truck, one was arguing with the chief to pull us out, and the other was fighting fire.

                        In our department we do things we are told and unless we are told to vent we don't if it saves damage to the home then try to be lenient on destroying things is what our present chief get's at so like venting the roof before sending a hose line in and then finding out is was dinner burning, damage would be just too much for an incedent like that but because our chief who in our department is an entity all his own didn't say to vent then we didn't, and yes many of the guy's that were in there did ask to pull out especially when about forty-five minutes went by and the fire was still kicking our *** because the people in charge weren't calling the shots right and that cost someone their life and their is no excuse for that at all.

                        Like I said when this happened we only had training once in a while instead of on a regular basis and it was stupid stuff like here start this chain saw or start this motor or something stupid, and to go out of our department to get training would require going at least 1-2 hours to a fire school and alot of us don't have the time off from work to do it and since our department is volunteer that makes it all the harder.

                        Someday our department with the right training and leadership will aspire back to being the best in our county instead of 4th or 5th.

                        So chief reason don't assume that all departments have some level of command structure like your's, because that only works if people are willing to do it right and make it work, and at this present time it will take even longer for our department to pull itself out of the hole it dug itself by electing certain people into office.

                        And I am not bitching either I have said my piece a couple of times and was suspended for it so how can ONE person fix it? he can't it takes a team of people who know what to do and how to do it to make change. So in conclusion to this response I would like to say instead of bitching me out why not give me some advice since you are so knowlegeable about these kinds of things.

                        And another thing we do have a training officer but unless he schedules training we don't get it. and later this year we are having a building construction class.

                        And I didn't say NIOSH said it was our chiefs fault they pointed out other things including lack of training for survival, Bad command structure poor accountability and the fact that all those thing's were reduced to almost non existent by this person, then yes he is responsible for the death of our firefighter by not making sure his brigade got training and was up to par.

                        So like I said instead of bitching me out how about some advice.
                        David McFeaters
                        FF/EMT
                        R.G.V.F.D. 21-1

                        Comment


                        • #27


                          [ 01-23-2002: Message edited by: Schmidt ]

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                          • #28
                            Schmidt,
                            While I obviously was upset with some of the things that you said, I was more upset with what wasn't said but was implied, particularly by pwc606 and to some degree by you. You will see that my post was directed to him. But since you took the time to respond to me, I will do my best to not personally attack you or anyone else on this thread.

                            After your post, oldE6man posted, "**NOTE TO MY GEORGIA BRETHREN: It seems like there is a pattern developing here. Y'all need to export a few good chiefs to rebuild your tarnished reputation.**, refering to A.D. Bell, Chief Few, and it can be assumed Chief Jack. wc606 next post..."Some also may just feel that they "Deserve" what they "Take" and I feel that it is wrong." The problem with this is that while pwc606 doesn't specifically state a chiefs name, the damage has been done. That's like me saying that you didn't rape anyone within the last six months. You may never have done any such thing. What I said is true but the damage has been done just the same. Casting dispersions upon others in a PUBLIC FORUM such as this, which is viewed by the public as well as other firefighters/brothers, is not the way to "share information". There is a place and time for this kind of information sharing and this is not the time or the place.

                            "Well I don't call it bit--ing and complaining - I call it sharing information". No what you did was, without necessarily using his name, smear the good character of your chief and those who work for him. Okay maybe that wasn't your intent, but again the damage has been done.

                            "but he/she has an obligation to support those in the field. For the life of me I cannot understand that if there are problems, real problems, that are affecting not only the operational readiness of a department, but the safety/morale of the line personnel- how the Chief of an entire Department can not only do nothing, but actually contribute to the problem." Again, while you didn't necessarily use your Chiefs name, the implication is made.

                            In regards to "policy makers aren't performing to standard", what standard is it that you refer to? You don't quote any standard. Would you be referring to NFPA 1021? I don't know why 2 to 3 companies a day were being marked OOS everyday, but I'm ready and willing to hear the truth. But when you tell me why they were out of service, give me (and everyone else reading this thread) the whole truth, not just the information that supports your side of the arguement.

                            In regards to the downsizing of your department, how many of your members were laid off or lost their jobs? Did you loose positions? Yes, jobs no. Do I agree with the total quint concept, not for my department, but if the city management told the chief that the fire department had to make drastic changes to lower their overall costs and become more efficient without sacrificing effectiveness, and this concept could do that, it makes sense. Particularly in light of the fact that your Chief was able to do so without a layoff and he increased manning on all types of alarms it seems to me that your Chief did have your safety and well being in mind. It might not have meet YOUR standard of performance, but it seems to me that the guy should get a pat on the back not a slap on the face.

                            "But that is really all the "verbal abuse" I have directed at the Chief. The rest of my post was in reference to the traits I expect from my field and administrative commanders."

                            Does this include the Chief of the department? "I maintain a certain degree of readiness-through training, physical fitness, discipline, love of the job, call it what you will. I expect the same, and more from my commanders." So as I questioned you in my first post, what trait is it that your Chief lacks? Does your Chief not have a level of training that YOU think he needs? How about his level of physical fitness or discipline, is that not up to snuff for his position? Or maybe you think that he doesn't love the job? Of course that would depend on your definition of the "job". Does he have a responsibility to you and your brothers? Yes, but he also has a responsibility to those who you and he have sworn to protect. Not just from fire and other emergencies but they expect it to be done in an efficient and effective manner. That sometimes requires change. Change is hard. Sometimes that change has problems. Some people will work to resolve those problems, some will resist the change and some will leave, because of any number of reasons, one is that they don't have the courage to tough it out. If I offended you by this comment, I appologize.

                            "What I question is the leadership he has/has not provided, not his Honor or Integrity." By your open ended comments, regarding others meeting your expectations of discipline and love of the job, I believe that yes, you are questioning his Honor and Integrity. But more important, pwc606, to whom I had directed my post to, had cast dispersions on your chief and some others.

                            Do those chiefs deserve public criticism? From what I have read in public documents, newspapers and others, maybe. But I'm not going to discuss my chiefs, or their officers negatively in a public forum like this. Why? When the the public reads this they will see your comments, the comments of others and believe what they read. They will read into things and they will believe that the department that you used to be a part of, is disfunctional. That dishonors all those who are still a part of that organization, rank and file included.

                            Your comment regarding "you can't please everyone all the time" is as much an accusation of my character as what I proposed to pwc606, about you. Does it make it true? No, but now you see how it feels when another makes comments regarding your "traits".

                            On the one thing that we probably argee on, 7tower, 7tuwer, larry the lips, or whatever he's calling himself today, I agree. How long do you think that it'll take him to find us and know that we don't like scab ladders and do alls?

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                            • #29


                              [ 01-23-2002: Message edited by: Schmidt ]

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                              • #30


                                [ 01-23-2002: Message edited by: Schmidt ]

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