Sad State of Affairs

Back before I had to have surgery, I visited my hometown. I am slightly nostalgic at times, and it turns out some of my close old friends were working that day. I have found more recently that I share commonalities with friends who are now in the full time ranks in my hometown than my older roots with the volunteers, so I stopped into the stations with the full time friends first. The stories they told me were rather… shocking.

I found my old part-time fire department (the majority volunteer) was headed into disarray, with them barely unable to get crews together. They said their new chief (the one that took over shortly after I left to come to Memphis) has managed to alienate everyone else in the region. They said he even went through the hallways of both stations, snatched up the pictures that had accumulated over the years, locked them away in a room and took the key himself, saying they were “part of the old regime.” I even got two different sources withe same stories how he walked into a crowd of his own subordinates and said “you know a well placed rifle shot would take all of you out right now” or something to that effect.

Of course, I found this hard to believe so I decided that I would work up some courage and go over there. When I arrived, I found downtrodden, beat up, depressed people that were not happy with their part-time jobs. I had quit part-time jobs that I didn’t enjoy, and it looked like they were ready to find an excuse to quit. Morale was WAY low, lower than that even of my full time job (that’s another matter), and today I was reading that a text message was sent out to all members threatening legal action against those who posted about public matters on Facebook and that those who did were “cutting their own throats.”

Is this the sort of behavior consistent with someone who is meant to be a leader? Meant to properly manage his department with effectiveness? I certainly don’t think so. And what kind of message does it send when you threaten your employees with legal action for mentioning information available in public meetings? What do you have to hide?

I see the type of person here who is both a poor manager and a poor leader. In an organization that requires the goodness of people’s hearts and desire to do good for their neighbors and fellow man you need people that WANT to come in. It seems that he is trying to force out the people that make the organization run and institute his own design (which will fail miserably), which ultimately means the death of the organization as a whole.

Sad, sad times indeed….

  • Sorry to hear it. Unfortunately, lack of leadership (as distinct from “authority”) is a very real problem in a lot of departments.
    I believe that is the major problem in recruiting and retaining volunteers, more than any other factor, including the time commitment and training requirements.