I have a quick question for all of you with Firefighter Assoc. within your Dept.

What role does your Chief Officers play in your association?


Hands off?

I have been recently elected as pres of my volunteer departments association. Our department has a new Chief. The retired Chief was  hands off. His feelings were that the assoc was kind of a firefighters union that belonged to the members. The new Chief wants to be involved with the association.

What do your departments do (volunteer, career) in regards to the chiefs involvment???


Thanks in advance,


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I can tell you how I (as Chief) handle our Association. I encourage and help them any way I can. They are the Volunteers and the association is part of what we are. However, if I feel that they are doing something wrong or going in the wrong direction I will give them direction or advice. Most of the time I just support them any way I can.
Our state and county associations encourage our chiefs, presidents and other members of the depts to be involved in the workings of the association.
We also have a chiefs accociation both county and state.
We also have a fire commision for the county where the chiefs, president or depts board of directors attend.
The firefighter association has their own board, president, vice president, sec, and treasurer.

The Fire Chief has NOTHING to do with the association except possibly be a supporter. Lines can get blurried when the fire chief is not in charge of "things" in the association. Likewise an association member may feel an unpopular decision against the chief's opinion may be threatening.

Most keep the lines of authority clearly defined.
Ours is "guidance" only. We too have a new Chief and he was curious has to how the previous handled/participated in ours. Like many, he is there to guide and direct when asked or needed, other than that it is all on the volunteers to build and manage.
Be safe and learn something new.
i am an ex president of a volunteer association in a combination department. An attempt was tried by the paid chief to seize control as ex-offical (i.e.-he's the chief so he "is" the head of the association when he says he is). I over rode him citing that was not in the bi-laws and the members elected me as their leader and i will decide the direction of the association by the will of the membership. He (as a member) suckered the membership into changing the bi-laws to give him power by promising the members "first chance" at all full time hirings. When i asked why this had to be done considering the association has been operating in that mode since the department was created, he said "legal reasons" that were never described to any of us. I fought this coup and told the membership that we are seperate from fire departments operations and do the things that benifit the firefighters and the community and if you turn over the ownership to the chief you will never have the power to decide the direction of the association for yourselves again. The membership took the bait and did it. The chief took control and promptly stopped having meetings. the new bi-laws gave him complete control over the association's funds. he froze the account and placed the money in an interest bearing account with himself as sole rep. In my farewell speech i talked about what the change they voted in would bring and what it represented to the people who have supported us. the free detector program stopped, bringing santa on the fire truck and delivering HS football players stopped (so did their donations). I ended with the chief may have promised some of you jobs but i'll bet it wont happen because entry level FF positions must be equally accessable to every person qualified to apply and fairness must be the rule. If you exclusively hire from volunteer ranks and never publicly advertise the job, the department could be sued. this is a grand mistake and within a year you will all see.

I took the association finances from red to black in 6 months

began an awards program

funded trips to seminars locally & national with one catch, the participant had to give a full description of at least one class they took that they thought would benifit the department

brought in nationallly recognized instructors to do seminars in our department

"tried" to get actor Kurt Russell to make a personal appearence for charity the year Backdraft came out (could not make the date we wanted)

bought tools and equipment the department could not afford to buy (or would not)

In the end i was right, nobody got hired directly from the Volunteer ranks, they had to apply like everyone else and take their chances. some made it and some didnt

I tell you this as a warning because some chiefs believe that their authority extends into the volunteer associations business when in fact the chief is just a member like everyone else. i used to give my chief an equal voice but i never relinquished my control of the association "just because he was the chief". this was a good subject and i'm sure other departments have had similar problems
I guess you are talking about what we call the fire department board? Are chief is a member of are board. He says all the time he should not be but no one else wants the part. We have five board members I am one of them. His vote counts the same as mine no more or less.
Our Chief is very hands on, and as a firefighter I appreciate his efforts and work with the association (Volunteer). We at Van Buren #6 respect our chief as he's always involved in everything WE do!
Our volunteer dept has a board of directors which includes our chief. two assit chiefs, president, VP, Sec, Tres, and two members at large if that the meaning of this discussion.

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