To make a long story short I am considering leaving the fire service. Its not under my free will, I love the job and still get that feeling from helping people. However, lately one of our members has been making it hard for me to do my duties at Lt.
On Sunday morning aroung 3:30am we had a house fire. Upon arival to the station I hoped out and there were 2 guys out front getting their gear on. One of them was running his mouth. He was yelling that we were taking to long to get there and get ready. He went on to yell that he was glad it wasn't his house and that we are a joke. I asked him to quiet down two times and he continued to yell. At this point I am tring to hear the size up from a unit that just went on location and I am ready to call our engine in service (I was driving). In order to get some quiet I yelled at the man to shut his f&$king mouth so we could hear the radio and each other. (I knew it was wrong but it worked, he was quiet at this point and I got the needed info). The next day he went to the police chief and fire chief and made a complant on it. (I knew he would). Today I was given 30 days out and striped of Lt.
This guy and I have had a few run-ins before. He likes to say that its a race issue. (he pulls this every time he has a problem). I would like to say this, I am not a raceist person...I can prove this due to my job. I am a shop Foreman. I have people of ALL colors working for me and we all get along just fine. There has never been a problem like this with anyone else.
All this said, He has been gunning for me for the two years he has been around this station. I get no backing from the rest of the dept because they all want to stay clear of the guy. They are afraid of him. What are your thoughts on this? I'm lost here. thanks -Matt

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thats right chief.... u tell them... i will back u up
At least one of you will! LOL
Matthew, I don't know the whole story but it takes time for volunteers to get to the station and man equipment.

Many good points have been addressed now I have a few questions.

* No where did you mention that you were written up or what your SOP's say in regards to "Disciplinary Action Procedures?"
* Does the SOP's state that the chief has sole authority to handout disciplinary action and reductions in rank?
* Did you get to explain your side of the situation and what happened?
* If you have disciplinary procedures why didn't you write this individual up? I'm sure there were other FF's there to support your report.
* On what basis did the chief use for your 30 days and reduction in rank? If your department does not have disciplinary action procedures and the actions to be taken outlined this may be in your favor.
* Does this individual snub all orders given to him by a senior officer? If not then why just you?
* Have you documented the situation.......written it down, gone over it, and gone over it again until you CYOA?
* Did you have the other FF's document what they witnessed, heard and saw?

Review what I've written Answer them so that FFN can give you good sound advice. Without these answered it's tough to advise.
I wish you the best, don't give up it's in your best interest.
Stay safe, train often and share knowledge.
I will have to agree with y ou on that one Norman. You said it better than I could have.
The SOG's are a joke. I recieved a copy of them today and there is nothing on disiplin at all. Nothing on what it takes to become or knock down an officer. The SOG's are 1 page long...I'm not kidding. I will scan them post some time this weekend.
As for the rest, Yes. I had statements written by the other firefighters there. And sadly, yes, he does ignore the other officers. Here lately he has started to do as the chief tells him, but no one else.
The basis used for reduction in rank and the 30 days off is based on his talk with the PD chief (we are public safety and the PD chief is over the Fire chief). They desided the punishment and held a quick meeting with the other officers. I don't know if a vote was held on it... They pulled this out of the air... There is no policy on this.
I was written up for use of the foul word. I got this write up today. There isn't anything on the write up about the race issue. The race issue was brought up in a face to face meeting (its the under laying cause, the use of the word was what they used to give out the punishment). Our other Lt told me a few other things as well on all of this. Upon the other info I was given it seems that more of this may have to do with the fact that this is a small southern town and I'm from NJ. (kinda odd, I've been here almost 5 years and they pick now!?!?) It was brought about a few times in the last 2 days. More to do with small town politics than who can do the job.
For now I am looking into training with another dept, just to keep my certs up. I know that I won't live here in Guyton forever...
Opps, I missed one. "Did you get to explain your side of the situation and what happened?"... Yes, after I was told that I was suspened for 30 days and striped of Lt. This hurt more than anything else. Everything was done and I wasn't even given a chance.
I have seen other towns put the fire department under ONE public safety officer; in most cases, the police chief and...
The fire department needs to get out from under the police department and then maybe, just maybe, you will have a fighting chance.
The guys with guns have no business running the business of the guys with hoses.
Sorry to hear that your dept. is under the direction of the police department.

Thanks for answering some of the questions.

I am so surprised that you only have one page of sog's. This could come back and burn the department. We had to re-write ours and outline disciplinary procedures and actions. Then each member signed that they received their own copy and that they are responsible for reading and re-reading them.

Does the office of public safety have SOP's? If so can you get a copy?

Where did the reduction in rank come from? What procedure/documentation was used for this?

Did you document this situation in your writing ? You may need this later.

Where you're from should make no difference on the correct out come.

How did you make LT? Did the chief { police chief} appoint you? If so at one time he thought you were the right individual for the position.

Is this FD owned by the town? or is it a private FD? { If it's owned by the town then I'd ask to speak with the town fathers in the presence of the fire chief & police chief}.

As fire chief this individual should support his chain of command equally. And he should make his FF do the same.
Any business has a boss, he has a boss and so on.

You should have been asked to write this situation down, write the FF up if need be and then brought before the top chiefs and explained everything.

I can't support you for swearing at the individual...{but it happened}. It's part of being human. That's what gets us in trouble. Never lower yourself to that level or to theirs. Always be the better man and stand your ground once the order is given....unless it could danger anyone.

It sounds like you may not stay...which is sad. It's tough but you could make things right and bring this FD to a better level.

How many members are on this FD?

You could improve the SOP/SOG's by asking to take on the challenge to upgrade the ones you have. Reach out to the members and let them know you're not leaving and this will not put you down.

It'll be tough but I am sure you have members who supported you and will support you. If you GIVE UP HE WINS....and who's next on his list?

Good luck, Stay safe, train often and share knowledge.
about the only one 2.... u and me both know that is true
You said it in a nutshell there!
I spoke with the chief about the SOG's. We have our own seprate from PD. They were written in-house with no legal supervision. They are being worked on and will be brought up at the next meeting. The reduction in rank came from the chiefs.
As for how I made Lt, we hols a vote every 2 years to elect the officers. All but chief are elected by the FD. Chief is appointed by the city.
There are about 25 members on te FD roster, we have 15 who show up to meetings and calls when they can.

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