Sunday, September 26, 2010

Decisions, Decisions.......

ARRRGGGGHHHH! I thought I was getting off the hook for a while. Unlike our career brethren, those of us in the volunteer fire service, for the most part have either elected or appointed line officers. I have been serving in various capacities as a line officer for around the last 4 years, first due to abdication of elected officers, later by default, and lastly because I was asked by many to do 'just one more year, please'. This year, at the very beginning of the year, I made it clear I was not running again and somebody had best step up to the plate. I offered full assistance to the next in line, as well as all my notes, plans, and records.
 A few days ago, one of my subordinate Officers offered to run for my spot, just as I had hoped. He will be a good fit, and do a fine job. I breathed easy because I had found and prepared a successor that was good for the team, and also because I could get a little rest, take care of my home life, and put in a little more effort at my paying job. (Of course, I'll still be running calls, doing a scheduled duty night, and teaching for the county, but it lightens the load for me a bit.)
 Yup, I could breath easy... for almost 48 hours. Less than 2 days later the Chief asked if I planned on running again. I told him 'no', and he asked who was going to run for my position and I shared the info with him. He said "Good, then can I get you to run for Lt. in Company 6?". I answered with an open mouth and he went on, "I had put you on the eligible list for Assistant Chief but the Board knocked it down because you have never served as a FIRE officer, Only EMS." I looked at him and smiled, I said "Chief...". He cut me off "Yeah, I told them you have more qualifications to teach than I ever will, you also have more recent training and soak up the new stuff like a sponge, and you have also been a big help on all our major calls, carrying your weight in any job I put you in, BUT, THEY pointed out that the bylaws say you need 2 years as a FIRE line officer, EMS does not count."
 I guess I dodged a bullet. I hadn't considered running for Assistant Chief, at least not this year. Now that they have put a roadblock in the way, which is really ironic to me, as our Commissioners, save one, have no idea what I do for our Department. The Chief was trying to point out that I could do 2 years as a Fire Lt. standing on my head because the workload would be about 25% of what I am currently doing in EMS, mostly because I would only have 15 people in the company, no monthly supplies to order, no state DOH paperwork or inspections to worry about and I already know the apparatus because I am qualified as an engineer on everything would be in my charge. Also, I would be working under a Captain that has his act together, big-time.
 On the other hand, I am a bit insulted that they believe I need to 'start over'. From that perspective, I am considering just letting them hang until they realize that good people don't grow on trees.
 Decisions, decisions.......

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