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  • #31
    wyseguy26 don't go

    Sorry if you took as anything, as if aimmed at you, there were many comments opinions etc. stated, I was just voicing that we need to find out more before, we, his fellow firefighters, find any fault with him, the vol. chief. We all have the right and even the duty to examine the situation and to learn and apply IF it realy is a problem. Even if the gentleman, is either totally innocent, OR toatlly at fault, we can discuss the article, drinking, driving, etc. just not with any judgements leveled with out adequate information at any one individual, (unless definate cause).

    We can learn and discuss without pointing blame.

    Have a good day, be safe out there, protect yourself, your partner, your department, then the rest of the world.
    Last edited by CharlieRFDPres; 06-23-2003, 12:04 AM.
    (should now be CharlieRFD,past,Pres.), but I've had this screen name for so long, I'm keeping it..., besides I'm Deputy Chief now.
    BE SAFE OUT THERE
    NEVER FORGET
    GOD BLESS THE 343 AND 60, MAY GOD GRANT HIS PEACE TO THEIR LOVED ONES.
    IACOJ
    F.O.O.P.

    Comment


    • #32
      I will be the first to admit, there have been times when I drove home and didn't remember doing it. Luckily I lived through it and grew up.

      I don't agree with drinking and driving either, but I will still drive my vehicle after one or two.

      My question is how many other people would be suspended indfinately for the same thing. No one.

      My lawyer would chew this up and spit it out.
      Of course that is based on the limited information that we have.
      Proud to be IACOJ Illinois Chapter--Deemed "Crustworthy" Jan, 2003

      Comment


      • #33
        I just thought that I would add this to the pile.

        Yesterday (being Monday), I was on my way after work a hour late. I happen to notice a number of 'odd' vehicles in the fire hall driveway, so of course I went to have a look. Turns out the Capital Regional District (who we sub contract 30% of our fire protection district from) was having a meeting for there residents that live in 30% that we cover (it’s a long story). Anyway, since the CRD does not have a municipal building in the area, we allow them to use the fire hall training room (which is very large) for their meetings. Anyhow, there was a bunch of them outside waiting (apparently they sent flyers out of the meeting, but they didn't get a hold of us to have someone meet them there to let them in.. typical government operation.. left hand not telling the right hand what it is going to do). Back to the story. I let them into the training area, which of course, is where our "bar" used to be. After I helped them move chairs and tables around, etc, I engaged in idol conversation with a few of the locals and a few of the politicians. Most of them had read in the newspaper about what has happened in Metchosin, and that our FD was used as a reference for those that had already removed their bars. When asked to comment, I responded by saying that we removed our bar because we are a public service and blah blah blah. Everyone in the room at this point, was listening, and (including the two politicians in attendance)EVERYONE said they didn't see any problem with us having a bar at the Fire Hall. In fact, a good majority of them felt that we NEEDEDto have it.

        As I posted on the first page, our FD has had a bar since the mid 70's, and responding while drinking at the fire hall was rarely, if ever a problem (no cases that I can remember since I signed on). The paper is portraying us as a department who seen that the bar was a problem because of public perception, and thus removed it. However, the public opinion is that we should have still have it, and should try to bring it back!

        On a personal note, I miss having the bar at the hall. Why? Not because I liked drinking. In fact, I haven't had a drink since the bar closed. The main reason why I miss having the bar there is simple.

        Interaction with my fellow firefighters.

        That's right. These days we are much to busy… always rushing here, or rushing there for something. When a call comes in, we go out and do our job. When it is over, we filter out to whatever it was we where doing when our tones were struck. On practice nights it wasn't un-common to sit around after practice and socialize. Learn things about the guys, and girls, that you have to work with.. that you have to depend on. Since the bar has closed we have had very little, if any, interaction between ourselves. Yes, groups of us do 'hang out' together, but it was the best way, the only way, to get to know people on a personal level. We as firefighters are a close, tight, family. I like knowing what Pfire's daughters are up to in school, how 27's day at the 'war' went, etc, etc. Without the bar, there isn't that interaction that bring us close together.

        I do not believe it is a matter of firefighters sitting around all day and pounding drinks, then responding. W regulate ourselves to closely. We have common sense (or we wouldn't be firefighters). If it was up to us to govern ourselves, there would be very few problems.

        Maybe we should step back and re-evaluate how we perceive the public's perception of us!

        (sorry for rambling, I'll get back to work now...)
        "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

        Comment


        • #34
          The main reason why I miss having the bar there is simple.

          Interaction with my fellow firefighters.

          That's right. These days we are much to busy… always rushing here, or rushing there for something. When a call comes in, we go out and do our job. When it is over, we filter out to whatever it was we where doing when our tones were struck. On practice nights it wasn't un-common to sit around after practice and socialize. Learn things about the guys, and girls, that you have to work with.. that you have to depend on. Since the bar has closed we have had very little, if any, interaction between ourselves. Yes, groups of us do 'hang out' together, but it was the best way, the only way, to get to know people on a personal level. We as firefighters are a close, tight, family. I like knowing what Pfire's daughters are up to in school, how 27's day at the 'war' went, etc, etc. Without the bar, there isn't that interaction that bring us close together.

          I do not believe it is a matter of firefighters sitting around all day and pounding drinks, then responding. W regulate ourselves to closely. We have common sense (or we wouldn't be firefighters). If it was up to us to govern ourselves, there would be very few problems.

          Maybe we should step back and re-evaluate how we perceive the public's perception of us!
          If it's not about drinking, then how come you can't have comraderie and interaction around a kitchen table and a coffee pot? How come you can't hang out around a picnic table and a grille? What's the matter with the front bumper and a pizza?
          PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
            If it's not about drinking, then how come you can't have comraderie and interaction around a kitchen table and a coffee pot? How come you can't hang out around a picnic table and a grille? What's the matter with the front bumper and a pizza?
            I couldn't honestly tell you. I am just calling it how I see it, and I see that firefighter interaction since the bar closed has been next to zero.
            "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

            Comment


            • #36
              I think we have had this debate a million times.

              Back to the original discussion, does anyone else have any more information? I haven't had a chance to pick up a paper or watch the news in the last couple of days.
              "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

              Comment


              • #37
                I couldn't honestly tell you. I am just calling it how I see it, and I see that firefighter interaction since the bar closed has been next to zero.
                If this is true, this is a very telling statement about your FD
                PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

                Comment


                • #38
                  New Article

                  I found a recent article in the Goldstream Gazette today regarding this issue.

                  Bar closed as fire chief suspended



                  News Gazette file photo
                  Cal Beaton says he has no intention of resigning as chief


                  By Bill Miller
                  News Gazette correspondent
                  The booze has been put under lock and key in Metchosin’s volunteer fire hall following Fire Chief Cal Beaton’s 24-hour roadside suspension for drinking and driving.
                  Beaton, who had been drinking in the firehall before being pulled over by West Shore RCMP on June 13, has been suspended from his position “indefinitely” and Mayor Karen Watson has requested his letter of resignation.
                  Deputy Fire Chief Steen Skou has been named acting fire chief and Volkmar Konway is his acting deputy.
                  But Beaton, 52, has no intention of resigning, and he has challenged Mayor Watson’s directive suspending him because he breached Metchosin’s “zero tolerance” for drinking and driving.
                  “I’m not aware of any such policy at the fire hall,” Beaton said in a telephone interview. “If that’s district policy, I should have been informed so I could enforce it with the firefighters.
                  “If they want me to do a job, they should give me the tools.”
                  As the News Gazette went to press on Monday, Mayor Watson had scheduled a special closed-door meeting “to resolve the matter.”
                  Council’s policy to endorse fire hall drinking has been a long-simmering controversy in Metchosin, where many residents have objected to the serving of alcohol in the municipality’s emergency services headquarters.
                  The issue came under public scrutiny in mid-January when Leslie Zinger, a registered nurse and a contender in last fall’s municipal election, called on council to review its policy in light of Premier Gordon Campbell’s drunk driving arrest in Hawaii. Zinger was later joined by fellow-resident Kym Hill and former councillor Sue Watt in sounding the call for a policy review.
                  Mayor Watson and her councillors have unanimously defended their pro-drinking policy, however, often evoking righteous indignation in berating their critics for being “politically motivated” and “picking on the firefighters.”
                  Watson has even threatened to ban the topic on several occasions, but without success.
                  But the issue has burst its fetters with Beaton’s suspension, which led local radio and TV stations, and the region’s daily newspaper, to vault into the story.
                  Acting-chief Skou has responded with an unprecedented step, rallying the 50-member Metchosin Volunteer Firemen’s Society behind tighter procedures for alcohol consumption in the fire hall.
                  In a major departure from past practice, Skou said firefighters have agreed that the licensed bar will now be opened only on special occasions such as fishing tournaments and Thursday night training sessions.
                  And even then, only after an eight-member duty crew has been designated to respond to callouts. Under district guidelines, duty crew members are forbidden to consume alcohol during their eight-hour watch.
                  “If there are only seven volunteers for the duty crew the bar won’t be opened,” Skou told the News Gazette.
                  Skou said firefighters often “enjoy a beer with meals” after training sessions. This will continue, but now they will be strictly limited to “one or two drinks” and they must arrange for a non-drinking driver to take them home.
                  “This was a big blow to the fire department,” said Skou, 37, a nine-year veteran of the Metchosin Volunteer Fire Department. “We want the community to know we are as concerned about this incident as everybody else.”
                  Former councillor Bob Mitchell said Skou has taken “a step in the right direction.” Mitchell said the bar was actually installed without council approval when the fire hall was undergoing a $500,000-plus expansion beginning in 1993, when Laurie Spears was fire chief. The bar was built as part of a $50,000 renovation of the old firehall building.
                  “When the plans were finished and presented to council, we all signed off and there was no bar,” Mitchell recalled. “Then sometime during construction, the bar mysteriously appeared.”
                  Mitchell said he was “given the runaround” when he tried to find out how it was paid for: “They just told me it was paid for out of the fire department’s slush fund, which gets about $10,000 of taxpayer funding each year from council.”
                  Mitchell served on council for seven years beginning in January 1993. For six of those years, he said, he was unable even to get anyone to second his motions regarding fire hall policy.
                  (Earlier this year, Brian Bolton, one of two resident members of the finance committee, had a similar experience when he was unable to get a second for his motion to limit fire-hall spending even as reserves were diminishing and taxpayers were being slapped with 12 per cent tax hikes in each of the next five years.)
                  “The fire department has always been accorded special status by council,” Mitchell said. “People have been scared even to examine their budgets. They used to just run it by the firehall society and then rubber stamp it. As far as (then-mayor) John Ranns was concerned, the fire department was a separate entity.”
                  Mitchell is skeptical that Skou’s initiatives will last.
                  “For years we’ve been given assurances that the drinking was under control, well supervised and wouldn’t result in embarrassment to the community,” Mitchell said. “Now we know those assurances to be invalid. The bar should be closed.”
                  Ex-councillor Sandra Martin agreed: “It’s just too tempting.”
                  Beaton was pulled over by West Shore RCMP near the intersection of Kangaroo and Rocky Point roads on June 13 after drinking with friends at the firehall. He was driving his son’s unlicensed and uninsured Camaro when he was stopped. Acting inspector Staff Sgt. Garth Wright said no charges are contemplated.
                  Beaton said he has consulted a lawyer and feels he’s been treated unfairly.
                  Under normal circumstances, he said, a 24-hour driving suspension wouldn’t cost him his job because there are no charges and there’s no legal obligation to disclose when given a warning.
                  “I’ve been in the fire department for 10 years,” he said. “And I’ve never been aware of anybody being removed from the fire department or suspended after receiving a 24-hour suspension. Why am I being treated different than anybody else?”
                  Mitchell said amalgamation with volunteer fire halls in Colwood and Langford should be explored; while ex-Metchosin regional director Shirley Wilde would like to hire a professional fire chief at the going rate for a municipality the size of Metchosin.
                  “This is a golden opportunity,” Wilde said. “It would certainly help to de-politicize the fire hall and would give the volunteers a chief that can lead and is fully qualified.
                  “But it’s important that we search both within and outside Metchosin. We can’t afford a paid fire department, but we can afford a paid fire chief.”
                  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                  © Copyright 2003 Goldstream Gazette




                  Under normal circumstances, he said, a 24-hour driving suspension wouldn’t cost him his job because there are no charges and there’s no legal obligation to disclose when given a warning.
                  “I’ve been in the fire department for 10 years,” he said. “And I’ve never been aware of anybody being removed from the fire department or suspended after receiving a 24-hour suspension. Why am I being treated different than anybody else?”
                  This is a valid point. Like I said before, someone leaked this suspension to the "right" people, therefore violating the Privacy Act. There were ZERO criminal charges.

                  ex-Metchosin regional director Shirley Wilde would like to hire a professional fire chief at the going rate for a municipality the size of Metchosin.
                  “This is a golden opportunity,” Wilde said. “It would certainly help to de-politicize the fire hall and would give the volunteers a chief that can lead and is fully qualified.
                  Prior to this incident I've not heard any dissatisfaction with the Metchosin Chief; Ja, Rick???? Have either of you guys heard anything against his abilities prior to this?

                  I think that this is a politically biased movement, based on the history with the town and some of the politicians stances during the last election. I am continuing to search for more info, but my quest has been less than fruitful.
                  To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

                  IACOJ-WOT proud

                  GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Social interaction still exists amongst the "core group," IE, Those that have been there the longest, and been through the most together. However, new members coming on, or those not within the main social circle are starting to feel distanced. In a fire department that practices once a week, and may only get 5-6 calls a month, it can be hard to "get to know" your fellow firefighter. Practice nights, after the actual practicing part, was ideal for interaction. It offered a neutral atmosphere for us all to get to know each other. People would talk about this or that, repairs on their vehicle, an up coming hunting trip, or, like the case used to be, I would beat 27 at a couple dozen games of Fooseball .

                    Since then, we have all grown apart a little bit. For a short while it was counteracted with things like chili or burgers after practice, but that has since faded away.

                    Over the last 6-9 months I have noticed an increase in FD sponsored events, such as Auto Ex Competitions, First Responder Competitions, Softball leagues, Paintball Tournaments, etc, etc. I believe, ultimately, it will be these events, and many more like them, that will gradually replace the "social drinking" done within these departments. If that is case, I think we will all benefit by it.

                    "To bar, or not to bar" isn't the question anymore. Due to "public perception" and other external, or internal pressures, be they professional, social or personal is going to spell the end of the having a drink at the local, rural, fire department. Some may hold onto theirs for longer than others, but in then end it will be for not. While I personally don't miss the bar, I 100% believe that something needs to be in place to assist departments in the transition.

                    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
                    If this is true, this is a very telling statement about your FD
                    Just to "defend our honour" a little, I would like to share with you that in the last five years the department has transitioned from a little known, "little brother department" (you know, you only invite them along to play goalie, or any other position no one else wants) into a well respected, forward thinking Fire Department. We've become know for "knowing our stuff" and have actually been invited to participate in training exercises that, five years ago, we wouldn't have even been considered for a courtesy invite (or even a non-vite).

                    Oh, and George......... SPLAT... no hard feelings, eh
                    Last edited by firefighter26; 06-25-2003, 04:39 PM.
                    "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      To date I have not heard of any complaints towards the Metchosin Chief. I work with (or have worked with) a number of the guys from that dept, here on the Base.... nothing heard, nothing seen so far.

                      As for: "...ex-Metchosin regional director Shirley Wilde would like to hire a professional fire chief at the going rate for a municipality the size of Metchosin. “This is a golden opportunity,” Wilde said. “It would certainly help to de-politicize the fire hall and would give the volunteers a chief that can lead and is fully qualified..."

                      I think we had this discussion before, about who is Professional or not... paper qualifications do not "Make the Man" professional, but his conduct does. Statements like Ms Wilde's really get me riled up, but that's another story for somewhere else.
                      If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

                      "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

                      "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

                      Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

                      impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

                      IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        During my search I ran across the minutes from the March 3, 2003 Council Meeting for Metchosin. I'll share with you an excerpt regarding alcohol within the firehall.

                        Councillor Dalzell returned at 7:05 p.m.

                        d) Report from G. Mellott, Clerk Administrator, February 25, 2003, 7200-01
                        - Letter from S. Watt requesting a Legal Opinion

                        03-03-27 Moved and Seconded by Councillors Dalzell and Kahakauwila:
                        "That the District advise Ms. Watt that the scenario she proposes is unlikely to occur and if an incident of this nature did occur, determination of liability would be based on the specific circumstances of the actual incident. The District will also advise Ms. Watt that existing policies on the consumption of alcohol at the Fire Hall prohibit the operation of emergency vehicles after the consumption of alcohol. The District will take no further action on Ms. Watt's request."

                        Councillor Kahakauwila said that she is growing tired of a few hand picked individuals making an issue of a problem that does not exist, or at the very least these individuals cannot or will not provide any proof that there is indeed a problem. This make-believe problem is that our volunteer firefighters are operating the fire equipment under the influence of alcohol and that they all, apparently, have drinking problems.

                        This issue, that being drinking at the Firehall and Metchosin Alcohol Policy, has been brought up by two unsuccessful candidates from the last election, an ex-Councillor who resigned midway through her term, and a reporter who has expressed a negative bias against the fire department. I have yet to hear from one of our average, everyday citizens from Metchosin that they feel that this is a major problem and a burning issue (no pun intended).

                        In fact I have heard quite the opposite from some of the residents. They feel that this is a waste of time and that they are tired of seeing this in the paper as it is giving Metchosin a bad reputation within our own community and with our neighbours. As well, this is bringing down the morale of a volunteer organization that does a great deal of good things for this community. I thought we, as Metchosinites, put a great deal of emphasis and pride on our volunteers. So why is it that our largest volunteer organization appears to be the target of such unwarranted criticism, disdain and disrespect?

                        Our Volunteer Fire Department has a Society and that Society governs the bar. The District does not provide cheap or free alcohol to the firefighters. The Society sets the price so that the bar is self-sufficient and can pay for itself. The District does allow the Society to operate the bar. As a volunteer organization the only incentive that we offer these hard working volunteers is a place to socialize with each other.

                        As we all are very aware from the new media from Esquimalt's perspective, running a paid department will cost anywhere from 2.5 million dollars to 3 million. I don't want to see the day that this or any other Council has to raise taxes to cover that type of expense. We are getting great service from these volunteers for a very small amount of money. Let us, please, give them the respect that they deserve and put to bed an issue that is not even there.

                        I would like to challenge the Gazette to do an article on the aspects of the Fire Department that seems to have been overlooked. These include the smoke and CO² detector program, the public education program, the Halloween event, the work they do to help set up, take down and the services they run for Metchosin Day, the Santa run, and let's not forget the first responder calls, the house fires, the bush fires, the false alarms, and of course the human cost of these calls that they respond to. Not always are there happy endings to what these volunteers must endure.

                        Councillor Cooper said that the Volunteer Fire Department is doing is totally legal - why are you attacking them for doing a good job. Councillor Dalzell said she echoes Councillor Cooper's comments, you are creating an embarrassment for Metchosin on unsubstantiated allegations that the Fire Department doesn't deserve.

                        Motion was Put Carried

                        e) Report from G. Mellott, Clerk Administrator, February 20, 2003, 7200-01
                        - Request for a Municipal Alcohol Policy

                        03-03-28 Moved and Seconded by Councillors Gramigna and Kahakauwila:
                        "That the District reviews existing policies on the consumption of alcohol on municipal property and take no action since the existing policy is adequate."

                        Councillor Gramigna said that recommendations regarding our volunteer firefighters capabilities and conduct are unfounded by any factual information. These statements reflect the worst of moral sensitivity. As a consequence it is time to move on to more practical issues and put to final rest the dialogue of a vocal minority subjecting its views on the majority. The real art of public participation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

                        Mayor Watson said that she has been in municipal politics for a long time. This issue comes up after each election. She is proud that all of Council has thought about this issue individually and come to the same conclusion. The firehall is run legally and by very strict policies. The devotion of our volunteer firefighters and their families is amazing. I expect this to be the last time I will ever hear about this again in these Council chambers.


                        I'm looking for April and May's minutes now to see if anything changed. I'm also going to go and see if I can find anything on the alcohol policy that they have referred to.

                        You'll note that Ms. Watt was referred to in the earlier article I posted as one of the people pushing for the bar to be removed.
                        To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

                        IACOJ-WOT proud

                        GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Here is a link to the Metchosin Council Minutes ..... feel free to peruse them. There is a history of the same 3 people going after the Fire Department's Liquor License. There is reference to some things from last year, so I will continue my search. Happy reading

                          http://www.district.metchosin.bc.ca/meetings.htm
                          To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

                          IACOJ-WOT proud

                          GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Thank you Pfire for keeping on top of this. I have been keeping my eyes open to no avail. If any of you think I was condeming Chief Beaton my apologies. (note to self think hard then post)It does certainly seem there is political motivation to this. One thing I don't understand is how it gives you more of an ability to lead and makes you more qualified if you are paid? It seems this was a catalyst the council was looking for to get their way.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Well Wyesguy, I believe it was a "staged" thing for someone's benefit. How hard would it be in a town the size of Metchosin, knowing that the department practices on Thursday nights, has a beer or two afterwards, for a cop to watch and wait for the chief to drive away. Then pull him over and issue the suspension. What galls me is the cop that issued the suspension is quoted in the original article as saying that Chief Beaton didn't show signs of impairment, but he issued the suspension anyway. Why issue it if the guy didn't seem impaired?? And I still want to know how the Mayor was enlightened to the suspension, since it's not a criminal charge and as such did not have to be disclosed. Someone is IN someone's pockets for sure and there's something rotten in the state of Metchosin
                              To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

                              IACOJ-WOT proud

                              GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Could that benefit be perhaps amalgamation? Perhaps some mayor has some picture of some police officer with some farm animal? The more I think about it the more suspicious I am. I takes me a while to clue in. Any word if disclosure of this offense is necessary? At my job as a driver the company states I must disclose any Motor Vehicle Contraventions.

                                Comment

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