Tuesday, July 05, 2011

VFD Drama

Volunteer Fire depts are nothing if not one drama after another. Jealousies, back-stabbing, gossip, rumors, lying, buddy-buddy system, and so on.

When J and I started dating, he was the Assistant Chief at a local volunteer fire station. We were both young - mid 20's and drama was just a fact of life. The more drama the better, I guess. Hell, yeah, I even contributed to it on occasion.

Fast forward a few years, and the stations were taken over by the county and the Dept. went paid.  There was a real heirarchy, and firefighters were hired, and promotions were *tested out* so it wasn't like a cut-throat, who's whose buddy, who's pissed at who, who owes who a favor kind of deal anymore.

For the first couple of years, the ff's worked at their stations alone, and there was still a volunteer bunch to back them up. But being the paid guy, he wasn't involved in all the volly-politic-drama-BS.
Even after he got a partner, he (we) were/are lucky that he's been able to get along with the guys he's worked with.
I have heard some stories about some of the other guys working with guys they couldn't get along with and were not happy.

At any rate, I thought I was done with the whole Volly-drama-rama.


Now it's my kid.
He doesn't have a wife or GF, so it's good ol' Mom that gets to hear the complaining.
And of course it pisses me off when my kid is upset, right.

But obviously he must enjoy the drama, or he'd go to a different station, like I tell him to do.
So I tell him, stop whining at me...if it's so bad, leave!

I understand, he likes everything about the dept. he's at, and the people there, all except for One Guy.

This One Guy is obviously Someone's relative.
R says he's the Chief's buddy, but from some other things he's said, it seems more like the Chief is afraid to or flat out can't do anything about the guy.

I won't list off everything The Guy has done (unless anyone is really interested), but anyway, while we were gone out of town on vacation, the whole thing blew apart.

Last weekend was the annual BBQ they have every year to raise funds. There was some minor bickering because it was hot, and not everyone pulled their weight, but apparently they worked it out.
R was there all day, and J went up that evening. After the event, they cleaned up and went back to the station to eat pizza (lol).
As far as R knew, everything was business as usual as we left town the next day.

A day or so later, R gets a call from one of the guys saying The Guy had *told on* the Assistant Chief for being drunk at the BBQ, and was wanting him kicked out of the Dept.
(Neither R or J saw the Assistant Chief drunk at the BBQ, and they were there the whole time.)

Then, sometime after that, R gets a call telling him the Chief had resigned, and the Assistant Chief had stepped in as Acting Chief.

Instead of grabbing the Chief's position and hanging onto it with both hands, his first order of business is to have the members Vote, not only for the Chief's position, but all the positions, because he knew there was resentment from most of the guys that the Ex-Chief had appointed positions, rather than letting them vote on them.

We returned from vacation and the next day R went up to the station to find printed notes on EVERY door of the Station informing them that "Effectively Immediately, NO Changes Were to be Made Without Approval of (the Police Chief) or (the Mayor)".

It's pretty apparent that The Guy went crying to them about it, mostly because he's always gone and cried to them when the others didn't do as he wanted (hence, why I believe he must be someone's relative). He pretty much knew he was going to lose his Captain's position if the Vote was allowed.

Now usually I'd be like, yeah, typical small-town ignorant political BS....get out or suffer, but leave me out of it.
But this is worse than the typical small-town ignorant BS...this level of sheer stupidity just kills me.
I don't know how, at my advanced age, the lows of idiocy that people can reach can still surprise me.
I guess it's because *these* people are supposed to have at least a little common sense. How can you be a Mayor of a City and be *that* stupid?

This City (that I don't, thank goodness, live in) actually has 2 fire departments, the stations within a mile of each other.  The one R is at is actually The City, the other is a County Volly station.
They are in some sort of competition - the departments themselves, of course, with the whole "ours is better than yours" thing - but for whatever reason, The City wants to have their own Fire Dept, and not use the Countys fire dept, even though they are right there and would save The City some money.
I wasn't around when all that went down, and don't know the why's and wherefore's, but end of story is, The City wants their own Fire Dept.

Some months back, a house burnt down during a weekday and there were no City volly ff's around to respond. (There were no County vollys to respond, either, but no one mentioned that little fact.) The paid dept from the next closest City was the first on the scene.
There was a holy big to-do about it, a local message board went crazy, the newspaper got involved. Basically it made The City's dept look like a bunch of losers.  The Mayor was embarrassed, and got after the Chief to *do something*.

At some point, I don't know if the Chief found him, or he appeared by coinkydink or what, but a guy joined up with them that is a State Certified Fire Instructor.
Now, this guy doesn't live in The City, or even the County, and doesn't even work in the City or County.
R says he never can figure out why the guy joined them, much less did what he did for them.
What he did was, spent the last few months of his time, almost every Saturday and Thursday, instructing the vollys to get their NPQ FF-1 certifications.  For free.  Didn't charge them or The City *one*red*cent*.

He did it right there at their station, when otherwise they would have had to send them to stay several weeks...I forget how long it is - 10 weeks? - at the State fire academy, and most of them couldn't go away for that amount of time, they have jobs and families. R has college. 

True, he probably won't be responding to 95% of the calls, but hello? - FREE training to guys that can/will respond to calls??

The newspaper came back and did a couple of articles about some of the changes they'd made, and the training they were doing. Made the dept look good, which in turn made the Mayor look good, like she *had handled* the issue.

But rather than doing whatever she can to keep the State Fire Instructor around to benefit her fire dept., she overrides his decisions and apparently puts the Police Chief in charge. Which, if I was the guy, the Acting Chief/Fire Instructor, I'd tell them to KMA, and I'd be outta there!

Bad thing, I'm not sure he is even being given the choice to leave, but is being made to leave because he doesn't live in The City.
Which would be pretty stupid because there is only one volunteer there that does live in the City - That Guy. The big, stupid, crybaby, Loser.

Not positive, but we're pretty sure you can't keep a Charter with only one person on the roster.
Not to mention, That Guy is an idiot.
He's a crybaby, a tattle-tale, a liar. He's a screw-up, but is the kind to blame his failings on others or even things, rather than taking any responsibility for his own actions EVER.
He failed both the State and NPQ certification tests!

I mean, WTH are these people thinking? Are they completely retarded?

Gah, it makes me so frustrated when people act so stupidly!

And I didn't volunteer for this BS.
I volunteered for the crap when I dated/married J, but I've always told R I didn't want him to get so involved in the fire service to start with. If he wanted to do it for fun, fine, but this ain't fun!


Fire Wife said...


I started to comment on specific things you mentioned, but then it got to be a book!

So I'll just say... I feel your pain.

Melissa said...

Feel free, I love books! :-)

But yeah, it's a real PITA.

I think he's finally about decided to go try at one of the County stations.

I told him to take a month and visit a meeting at each of the closer stations and see which one he liked best before deciding to commit to one.
But he wants to go where his buddy's going.

Kids. Gah!

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