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Fire Chief Certification

October 3, 2012

Here’s yet another example of a group (Texas Fire Chiefs Association) trying to push standards down the throats of cities all in the name of public safety. If it’s so important, why would it need to be mandated? Would the value stand for itself without cities being forced to implement it? If not, leave it alone.

One of the main reasons they were trying to push this is that Police Chiefs are compelled to do it. Apparently, it never occurred to anyone that they should get rid of the requirement for Police Chiefs. You may recall that there are a whole slew of fees for a municipal traffic citation that goes for stuff the state stipulates people pay for. There’s a class at Sam Houston State University for Police Chiefs. The Fire Chief’s class doesn’t come with a way to pay the fees, so the class is still $2,000 plus travel and lodging.

“The TFCA sees no reason why police chiefs should have a higher standard of training required for new chiefs compared to the TFCA’s present minimal requirements to earn a head of department certification to be a fire chief.” paragraph 4 on page 39.

I’m sure that the next step would be that, since they’re so highly trained, that they should be paid more.

During this conversation, someone mentioned that at community colleges, tuition is free for fire fighters. I’d never heard of this before, but I wanted to try to get more information about it from our fire department.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Becky permalink
    November 16, 2012 9:59 pm

    I am curious about this post and what you are talking about when you mention a municipal traffic citation. How does that relate? Why would you not want police chiefs to have the highest training possible? These guys learn from each other at these training classes.

    • November 17, 2012 11:44 am

      Thank you for your comment and your questions. I’ll be glad to clarify this. If I don’t do well enough, please feel free to ask again until you get the information you need.

      I’ll be fairly brief about this because this is a giant can of worms that needs to have a lot of light shone on it, but I hope this will whet your appetite.

      First, while training is a great thing, the bigger question is, how valuable is it for the residents of this community. High angle rope rescue might be a great skill set to have, but how often will this skill set be required in Watauga? Will that skill set ever be used? What are the alternatives? Call a department with that specialized skill set and buy time until they get there. Might the city not be better served by additional certifications for water department employees that will use that training every day of the rest of their tenure with the city? Might the city be better served by better roads or newer pipes in the ground? I would propose that those choices should be evaluated by those in leadership positions in the city, rather than some bureaucrat at a non-profit who stands to gain financially from being able to impose the standard on cities.

      Secondly, once the elected official is willing to buy into the idea that training is something that must happen, it then becomes an unfunded mandate. The City is then forced to find ways to pay for it. This is the situation that has happened with training for police and municipal clerks. The State has mandated that the City be forced to pay part of the fees from citations and court costs to the State to support similar training programs for Police and Municipal Clerks. It’s a power and money grab. The State sets the standard, the cities pay for the officers and the municipal court infrastructure, but it’s the State that gets the money – purportedly to serve us better. In reality what happens is that the State uses these funds any way they want. This last budget cycle, our elected representatives, stole, committed a fraud, and lied when they took the funds from these accounts and used them in the general fund to be able to show that they had a balanced budget. If the training is that important that the city should have to enforce it and the State takes the money for doing so, I think there should be protections for the City and the tax-payer. There are none.

      My position on this proposal was, and still is, that if training for a Fire Chief is so important and so valuable, that the municipality should have the option to send their Fire Chief to the training. If it’s as valuable as they say, they won’t have any problem convincing City Council’s everywhere that they should do it. I think the reality is that most Municipalities are smart enough to have hired someone competent for the job and they don’t need to send them to a $2,000 school run by the people who are pushing the program, to prove it.

      There is much else I could say about this and will. It is instructional to look at the Police infrastructure to see where such standards lead. I’ve got a bunch of blog posts pending on that topic, but I’ve not finished the work to be willing to publish them yet. I hope that this will at least give you something to consider.

      Thank you for reading, and more so for commenting and asking questions. I enjoy the opportunity to clarify these things. I hope that this has helped.

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