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How DO you deal with a CHIEF that JUST doesn't CARE!!!!

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  • How DO you deal with a CHIEF that JUST doesn't CARE!!!!

    With the Deaths of FIVE of our BROTHERS in the local area in the past three months,(One in Passaic,one in Newark, and Three In New York) How Can a Cheif trun his back on his men and ALLOW THE CITY FATHERS to cut his man power DOWN to LEVELS that are unsafe for anyone to try and work in!!( 17 man MIN to as low as 12 men and CLOSEING A STATION, ALSO asking us to ride with a TWO MAN TRUCK COMPANY) this is a town the runs 5,000 alarms
    a year and was responding to 150 to 200 WORKING STRUCTURE fires a year. NOT counting
    car fires, garbage, brush, ect fires that we run to on top of all this. just have no RESPECT for this guy any more!!! he doesn't care about his men,,, and is more concerned with keeping STAFF at full strength rather then to close it down and place those personal on the line untell he can get things straight with CITY HALL!!! I just don't KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH THIS GUY ANY MORE!!! ANYBODY have any ideas??????

  • #2
    Are you talking about your Chief from Plainfield?


    • #3
      ALSO asking us to ride with a TWO MAN TRUCK COMPANY) this is a town the runs 5,000 alarms a year

      I understand and share your concern highrise, but I must admit I kind of shrugged when I read your post, because where I come form it's really nothing new. Two cities in my area (who shall remain nameless) staff their ladder trucks with 2 men 24/7/365. To put this in perspective, one city has 76,000 residents and has already made over 6,000 runs this year.


      • #4
        Sounds like a political issue...with the Chief either not being able to communicate with City Hall, not wanting to, or dancing to their tune.

        Look for more of this type of frustration from professional firefighters once NFPA 1710 passes and is in effect.

        I probably don't have any advice that you either already haven't thought of or heard from someone else. However, in my humble opinion, your biggest asset as a firefighter fighting a budget and/or staffing issue is the public. Activating public interest and support (civic groups, industry going to City Council meetings and speaking against FD staffing cuts, as an example) can be an effective tactic, but I would recommend not overusing it (kind of loses its effectiveness when you "cry wolf" a lot.)

        When faced with the proposed loss of a ladder company several years ago, our union local went door to door in the neighborhood that would have been affected. Many of our citizens showed up at the City Council meeting, and as a result, the company was not put out of service. Several years later, when we needed new apparatus, we went to the civic leagues, and they supported us at a budget hearing. Effective...but, once again, I would not overuse this tactic.

        I work in Virginia..where its illegal for firefighters to collectively bargain with their the municipal government. I notice you're from New Jersey, so I assume you're union. Is staffing covered in your contract? If not, I'd recommend it..using the NFPA 1710 for justification.

        [This message has been edited by dgrant (edited 06-27-2001).]


        • #5
          Highrise, this is just my longwinded opinion bro, but in response to your justifiable tirade, Passaic's local is in the process of bringing a lawsuit against the City of Passaic. Will it help? I don't know, maybe it will embarrass the administration, hell, the mayor didn't even attend Brother Tirado's funeral, so take from that what you will. Since your chief has no backbone (yes, I'm being sarcastic) what happens when he tells the city fathers "Enough is enough!then this Chief is fired(after the long process of removing him, who replaces him? Will this change cause the City fathers to change their mind and see the light? What have you done to help him? (It doesn't always help, but you have to ask anyway)
          I'll E-mail you and you're welcome to use my private E-mail as well if you wish.

          I agree with you about "crying wolf" it will only work so many times, the average Joe has his own problems, and until his house is on fire, or he needs some medical attention, he don't want to know about those overpaid slobs that hang out at the station (at least in NJ, in career departments). It's so tragically funny, how some think the Chiefs don't care about manning and safety, look in the mirror and ask yourselves some questions:

          1. (for all you line Officers) Am I filling out my incident reports compeltely? or am I just putting enough info in to get by, and keep the white shirts off my back? Do I leave the customer with the impression that this was my most important call today?
          (yeah, there's this thing called justification, it can only be backed up with hard data...ok, sometimes it requires data that has been "gently massaged" either way it's tough to make the case if you can't provide good data, after that it's out of the Chief's hands.) Some items in question #2 apply to you as well

          2. (for all you Firefighters and Medics) This is a multi-part question...Were you polite to the public today? Did you show the patience of a saint when answering their asinine questions? Did you remember that you're here for them and not in spite of them? Were you visible to them, or do you retreat into the fortress...I mean station after every alarm. Do they know you by name?

          3a. & 3b (For the the White Shirts)
          A. Have you cultivated your contacts with key non-political citizens in the community or your district? you know, remember a birthday, or other important event with a card?

          B. Have you been seeking the input of your boys and girls? Have you taken some time to explain the process to them, or have you been "holed" up in Officer's Country? (Kind of unfair I know, the workload is a bear sometimes, everyone wants a report or something.)

          Reality check lads and lasses, the municipal administration controls your service, and no amount of posturing by one lonely white shirt will change that. I saw a Chief resign in protest once over staffing and budget issues, you know what he got? A lot of free time and a pension, you know what the department got? neither do I, they're still fighting, but they did get a new Chief who was more "amenable" to the municipalities postion, still willing to fight, but he recognized the limitations of what he could do (try and stem the tide!) the only success they've had is when the City Manager finally got a better offer and went to a new job!
          NFPA 1710 won't do a damn thing for you, if your administration won't recognize it until the lawsuits start coming. In N.J. a city will go the distance, rather than let staffing become a contract item. Do the unions have the stones to go the distance with them, or will love of money win out? Well, I guess that's an issue for another day...
          Well enough blabbing, gotta go plan on how to make my guys more miserable, it's hard work destroying morale and really takes a lot of planning! One final question and I'll provide the answer for you.
          (provided by my bretheren in the corrections industry)

          Question: "When they have you bent over the table, do you tighten up, or relax and go with the flow?"

          Answer: "It doesn't matter."


          • #6
            In Pittsfield, which is a city about 30 min north of me, They are having a major budget problem due to a retirement fund issue throughout the city. The mayor asked for all budgets to be cut. The schools cut performing arts and sports, the PD trimmed their workforce, and the FD, hit most hard, cut 8 FF's. This forced them to shut down a station. There are several outlying stations that will be effeted. They are doing a rotating shutdown of the stations. One gets shut down one moth and another the next, and so on. 6 out of the 8 FF's have already gotten jobs with the city of Springfield. The mayor of Springfield bashed the Mayor of Pittsfield hardcore for the cutbacks in public safety for a mistake that should've been caught long ago. One ironic note, one of the FF's cut is the son of the ex fire chief of Pittsfield.
            HELL YEAH!!!
            The comments made by me are just that. Not of the Fire dept or Ambulance squad I am on.


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