There is an interesting video story from Long Island about how the Fire Chiefs take there Department provided vehicle into the City for their job. To read the full story click the link below and watch the video clip.

 

http://firetruckblog.com/2011/05/24/fire-suvs-out-of-your-first-due...

 

 

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The town of Holtsville allows the Chief (and an assistant Chief) to use their department vehicles for personal business (including driving into Manhattan for work). The chief in question has 26 years as a volunteer, being chief has a lot of added responsibilities (and liabilities)and for an unpaid position, the vehicle is small compensation for that.

FYI, in Connecticut, State Troopers have the use of their cars 24/7 as personal vehicles. Granted they are on duty 24/7 but, they can use them to go out of state for personal business or vacation (I assume, within reason). While not necessarily underpaid, it is an additional perq for a mostly thankless job.

Back to the Chief, he was doing nothing wrong and being ambushed like that he's taken completely off guard so if he doesn't come across as having the best answers, it's to be understood. Interestingly the town leaders were NOT interviewed, I guess because them saying that the Chief is doing nothing wrong would have ended the story right there. Better to get reactions from people who think it's outrageous that their tax monies are being 'misused.' Of course, was there any mention of how much money the town saves by having a volunteer fire department? Alluded to by the Chief but the reporter kind of let that slide.

So it raises the following questions: Why would you post this? Do you agree or disagree? Is there an ulterior motive to your post? And how broad an experience do you bring with you, in terms of town and fire department taxes, budgets and perquisites, given your years as a (junior/explorer) "firefighter?" I'm a just sayin'...
The Chief's vehicle is a very touchy subject for me. I can only say that Chiefs need to be reallistic about the issue. If a car is part of your salary that you negotiate, OK, fine, whatever. but don't you dare complain about how politicians are rallying the country to take things away from us.
While I can agree with Jack about doing nothing wrong and the chief was ambushed, I disagree with the concept of using the vehicle. Such "sudden" stories can and do address the issue and can lead to changes. Sometimes the story is so stupid and trivial (like the Boston FD shopping at the nearby grocery story, despite being out od the city a block or so), but then some stories may bring an issue that could or should have a say, like this.

So if this is a "perk" and the dept allows this, then fine and dandy. Like Jack, I know of several depts that allow the chief to take the vehicle home, as well as state patrol officers. Our own chief and assistant chief are able to take their dept vehicles home and for a time, even the fire marshals, not a big deal because they could respond in the middle of the night if needed. However, there is a difference from taking the vehicle home and being able to respond and another to use the vehicle for personal use, like going to work 50 plus miles away.

If on official business is one thing, but if using it for a means of getting to and from work I disagree with. The reason most people do bring such a vehicle home is so they can respond from home, but when travelling to work 50 plus miles away, what kind of response are you doing? Besides if you are working for a FD or PD in the city, then it isn't like you will be able to leave your job to respond back home. Along with that is the fuel consumption, how much does daily commute to the city cost the local govt in an SUV?

My take is I don't agree with using such a vehicle for the personal use like this. However, if this is a "perk" and the dept and local govt agree to this and look at this as a form of payment or compensation, then I have no problem. This is an issue that is looked at from the local side of things and there will always be those who disagree with any public compensation despite the cost savings on services they get.
The reason most people do bring such a vehicle home is so they can respond from home, but when travelling to work 50 plus miles away, what kind of response are you doing?
Spot on! If he's working in the area, then that's fine, but from 50 miles or 80k's, what's the point?

In the corporae word here in Australia, a car as part of a package is often said to be worth up to $20k to the person. That's a lot of money. Now in this case, if the tax payer is funding that, or the volunteer fundraiser BBQ's, then it's a massive issue and expense.
Holtsville is one of my neighboring departments, and I have read about this story and watched the actual video, too.

The Chief was ambushed, and it was deplorable reporting and a lack of professionalism on Fox's part.

In Suffolk County, where Holtville is located, the span from Holtsville to Montauk (East end of Long Island) is about equivalent, if not more, of a distance from Holtsville to Manhattan. The only different between the two distances is the boundaries inbetween - that's it.

Overall, someone did the math, too. He calculated that the gas for the vehicle, per year, was equivalent to about $1 a year per person. I, as a tax payer, wouldn't mind paying $1 per YEAR to ensure that a fire Chief has a vehicle to respond in a rapid manner. It can mean life or death for someone - suddenly that $1 looks like it's very well spent.

In the interview the Chief was asked when the last time he responded to an alarm from home. For those of you who didn't watch it, he stated "yesterday." So, as we can tell, it's in use.

To top it off, the man has been volunteering for 26 YEARS. If he was taking the vehicle out of state or embezzling money, then I could understand the upset, but that's not what's going on here. He's put in his time, and this is a perk that Chief's have always had.

Also, there have been times where I've seen "foreign" Chiefs at an accident scene out of district - it happens all of the time! I think of this Chief having his truck as an added emergency vehicle to the confirmed dangerous roads of Long Island. We already have a shortage of emergency personnel on the two major highways (Long Island Expressway and Sunrise Highway), so any additional emergency personnel with formal (and more) training should be welcomed.

I'd also like to note the lack of thankfulness from people regarding fire departments. My department did a boot drive not too long ago for the Fallen Firefighters Foundation. I'd say that about 85% of the cars didn't stop to donate, and that was over the span of 4 hours. It's not until we're summoned that we're truly appreciated. Even then, there have been times where people scold us for "taking too long", especially since they "pay our salaries." Little do they know that we're volunteer. The looks on their faces when we tell them that is priceless.

All in all, the Chief deserves it. He's not abusing the privilege, and I am severely disappointed with the lack of appreciation and support by the community - or at least those shown in the interviews in the video.
leave the vehicle at home, in the district ,where it belongs.
He's ALLOWED to take it out of district, sheesh, read/watch the links. The Chief DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG. The issue is NOT with the Chief, the fire district ALLOWS the vehicle for personal use.
My only issue is that they all drive fuel-guzzling SUVs.
Why not a small, fuel-efficient car?
Our vol dept bought a unmarked vehilce for our chief who lives outside the county and uses the vehicle for his work which is anywhere in a metro area. The vehilce uses county fuel and repairs. He may fill the tank using a station credit card. He has the means to get what he wants so the company just lets it be. We may not be the only vol company in the county it happens to but I know it happens in other depts.
so what, he's allowed to take it. That doesn't mean he should or needs to. Where did common sense and doing the right thing go?
I'm from a volunteer department in the middle of Wyoming that has about 42 active members and serves 22k people. Our chief and asst. chief have command vehicles (one is an Explorer and the other is a 1/2 ton pick-up) they can use the vehicles within the district for personal use, but not out of the area (unless it's for official use of course) We as a department can also use the truck to haul our swiftwater rescue trailer and haz-mat trailers.

I think this is a fair policy. You can use a department vehicle as long as you're within the district, and if you are outside of the district and happen to be coming home when the call comes in just respond POV if you want. Most of our officers carry extra bunker gear with them anyways...
bag,

That is YOUR opinion, clearly NOT that of the Chief or of the Fire District Commission. So even though he is ALLOWED, by his district to take his vehicle out of district, YOU'RE deciding that he shouldn't?

Really, you want other people, who have nothing to do with YOU or YOUR fire department making decisions based on what THEY happen to think best or appropriate?

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