How does your volunteer department determine its officers? Are they elected or appointed from the Chief and voted on by the board of directors?
Being appointed to the position allows the chief and other officers to decide who they think best qualifies for the open position. Usually, there is no set of terms with this. This is a leadership style and department structure that works from the top down.
Being elected, allows all the volunteer fire department and its members to vote on who they believe is right for the position. Elections are held every year, two years or more, depending on the departments policies. Thus being a bottom up style of leadership and structure.
My position is that all fire departments should have elections for their officers and hold elections no more than every two years. First, it allows the department to elect a new officer when it is needed. Sometimes an officer becomes a cancer to the department, you have to get them out of a leadership position. Not everyone is a leader, departments can elect a leader and realize they are not meant for it. Second, it keeps the power to the volunteers. They work along side one another, they see who puts in the effort and therefore they should have the choice in electing who leads them into a burning house. Third, it is a vote of confidence on election day to re-elect an officer. As well, I’m a firm believer in the bottom up leadership style on volunteer organizations. Which allows a certain amount of “checks and balances” to the organization.
What do you think? How does your department select its officers? Do you like it that way?