I recently had a new city council member come to me and demand to see my fire reports and my meeting roster forms. This council man told me that he is going to see who has not been to a fire or a fire meeting in three months and kick them off the department. He said it will not matter if they missed because of work or family issues. As chief I consider both of these to be an excused absence. This council member informed me that the city is paying too much in workers comp coverage and retirement and pension and he is going to eliminate this problem. I tried to explain that because of where we are everyone works in a different area. I had to schedule our meetings to get 8 to 9 of our 12 volunteers to be at the meetings. I also tried to explain that they do not pay retirement and pension on all of the guys. I have three volunteers that do not get retirement and pension. Two are too old and one is a full time firefighter for a paid department.
We are just a small volunteer department that protect a town of 500 people. We are not paid or compensated in any way. All of my guys are there when i need them when they can be.
But my number one rule here is family comes first. In my area we dont get allot of applicants for the fire department probably one or two every two years, so I value what I have.
My guys also see the way the council treats me so this further discourages them from putting out allot of effort.
I dont know what I can argue to try and convince these people to leave my people alone.
As far as i know there are not any complaints against us or any bad raps.
Just like everybody else we spend allot of time trying to keep equipment running.
I am just not sure how to protect what i have.
I am trying to find out for sure if they can actually dismiss one of my firefighters for work or family related absences.
I am trying to find it in writing somewhere official.
Plus we are just all unpaid volunteers no perks just workers comp coverage and retirement and pension and two of my guys joined knowing that they were to old to qualify.
That is why I posted here to see is anyone had any advice for me.
Just trying to be prepared and argue well informed.
Thanks for all of your help,
Denton W. Ervin
Getting the community to wake up is what I have struggled with ever since I joined 13 years ago.
Trying to get people to understand that we need more to operate on than just $190.00 a month.
Trying to get them to understand how big a difference we could make in how much they pay on their insurance if we could just drop our ISO rating. Trying to make them understand that if we could ever get a pumper truck and just how important having one is. It is like talking to a bale of hay.
This is the worst council that I have had to deal with and i have had allot.
All I can do is just gather up facts.
Thank you for the help.
I really appreciate it.
Be careful and stay safe.
Arguing with this guy is like beating a rock with a rubber hammer. It does not do a dam thing.
Just how far will the other two council members will go with him I am almost afraid to guess.
Trying to argue the facts and argue intelligently is the only thing that i can think of to maby make a difference.
That is why I came here i knew I could get some good advice.
BE careful and stay safe
Have a good fourth.
Denton W. Ervin
Thanks for the help.
I know that i am not alone but I sure feel like it some times.
They can sure make a person feel like they dont matter and nothing that they have done or none of the trucks that they have built make any difference.
My guys appreciate the work and THAT is what matters.
I will be sure to place any news on here.
Thanks for the help and advice,
Be careful and stay safe.
Hope you and your family have a happy and safe fourth.
Denton W. Ervin
Ordinances here are few and far between here. No body ever stays around long enough to do anything.
Coming here is how I am trying to prepare myself with the facts and like you said argue offensively and intelligently.
Thanks for everything,
Be careful and stay safe,
Have a good fourth
Denton W. Ervin
Thank you very much Captain Busy,
This guy was just recently elected. Nobody ran against him.
It is a three person board, all guys with an appointed mayor of sorts.
I think i told one of the guys earlier that at this point in time I dont trust any of my council men at all.
Too much is being said when my back is turned and when i confront them and say if there are questions they should come to me. They lie to me.
Getting the public to wake up and take notice in anything is so far impossible around here. i am working on that right now trying to get people informed of what is happening and what would happen if this actually happens. I already have some fallout from this because i have guys actually preparing resignations.
They are not planning to hand them yet but they are thinking it.
hidden agendas are a very real possibility. Like i said earlier I dont have a city mangier or a police chief and I cant trust the mayor because i have caught him lying. I dont know if I would get much out of talking to the city attorney.
The Spokane firefighter add is a good ideal.
Trying to build a good strategy is why i am getting all of you guys opinions.
That is all i can think to do is try to stay calm and argue smartly and intelligently with the facts.
Thanks for everything, all of you.
Everything that you guys have suggested helps allot.
Everybody be careful and stay safe.
Everyone have a happy and safe fourth.
Denton W. Ervin
Mountain Park Volunteer Fire Department
your exactly right on the insurance rate...we get rated based on how well our department preforms...those ratings are reviewed by the insurance personal & your homeowners insurance is based on that...for example i know a guy who is 15-20 mins from the nearest fire department in the county & the insurance ppl tld him that if there was a fire department closer that his rate would drop!!!
Ask this council man how much he is compensated by being on the council. There is always some monetary compensation for a position like that. Then ask him if he is really needed by the city. At the next counsil meeting sit in and ask one question: "If your house was on fire, or your son or daughter or family member was in an accident, Who will be there to respond and help if you terminate the lucky few that this department has." Then ask the counsil to consider how many members should be on the council for a small town. Then ask for one resignation just as this guy is doing for your department. I love the idea of handing him an app. Just reverse the cards. Sounds to me since he is new that he is trying to "chang the world" so to say. This may be rouge behavior and unacceptable behavior on his behalf. Unless counsil asked this gentelman(used lightly) too go to the department and ask for these things, he is over stepping his power. There may be action against this. Just like freelancing in the fire service. Unacceptable and punishable.
i have not thought to look for how we are formed. You are right that would be a good thing to find out.
Not sure where to look but i will start.
i have been spreading the word as much as i can to let everyone know what he and well all of the council is trying to do.
As for how i became chief it was a vote of the firefighters. I do go to council meeting and say these new applicants want to join the department and the volunteers all voted in favor for them to be approved.
I have never had a council refuse a new member so i dont know what would happen then.
i did point out to hem several times that the three meeting missed rule was at the chiefs discretion if i believed the absence was excused or not. But he seemed not to hear.
Pushing the find someone else issue I dont know how it would turn out. I am almost leaning to that it would play right into their hands. I still have to think on this one.
i really need to find out about the wrongful dismissal to see if this can happen being we are not paid or anything. I hope that the state retirement and pension board would be able to answer that one.
I will call them Monday!!!!!
Thank you very much you have given me allot of good information to dig through and add to my arsenal.
I hope that you all know how much I appreciate you taking the time to respond and give me your thoughts.
It is a big help and means allot to me.
i hope that you and your family had a happy and safe fourth.
Becarefull and stay safe.
Thank you Shaun ,
I know that the council members get some kind of check for being on the council and they also get insurance coverage.
You know their last big question to me at the last council meeting was. ( IS THE TOWN GETTING ITS MONEYS WORTH OUT OF THE VOLUNTEERS.)
I was so pissed at the stupidity of such a question I almost had a stroke. But i bit my tongue and brought blood and contained my rage and just shook my head yes absolutely.
The question still outrages me.
He asked me to get this information when I went to confront him about all of the talking behind my back that he lied about and said that the had not. But no he asked me for this information outside a meeting and just less than a week before the regular monthly meeting.
I am not going to have the information ready for this meeting. I am going to tell them this should have been brought to my attention at the last meeting instead of a few days before. Also I am going to tell them That I have a broke down fire truck right now and stupid question like this take a back seat to a broke down truck.
The truck is at the front of the line always.
Thank you again for everything,
ALL OF YOU.
It is very much appreciated.
I wish that i could show my appreciation to you all by helping you clean up and repack equipment after a fire.
That always seems to take forever when you are beat.
This is totally volunteer? Do they get retirement and pension? I know all have to have workers comp. Well anyway, instead of being so upset with this council member go to your inactive or barely active volunteers and find out why they are inactive. Can trainings be scheduled at different times? How can we accomadate them to become more active. It is vitally important that as volunteers to remember we still have an obligation to our city/community we serve and training and meetings are an important componet to safety. Explain we want to do everything we can to help the community. Try to involve and show appreciation to their families and keep them involved. Lets not point fingers but lets find a solution to our problems. Good luck and God Bless.