A recently commissioned study of the Philadelphia Fire Department has been released. Needless to say the results paint a picture of a highly dysfunctional agency where rank and file firefighters and medics feel ignored, disrespected and marginalized by a highly autocratic and out of touch command staff. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Below are the results of the employee surveys compiled by the study group.
It defies logic that any agency would allow senior leadership to continue in light of the complete loss of confidence by rank and file this survey indicates. I can tell you from my point of view and in my opinion certain aspects of the study are 100% accurate. On the other hand most of the “solutions” called for by the same study would in most cases make things TREMENDOUSLY worse.
Most of them revolve around Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The system has been inundated with hundreds of thousands on non-emergency calls that are crushing the departments operations. Yet every time our senior command staff gets involved they only make things worse for the medics. This causes morale to be destroyed even further, and so it goes. I don’t know what will eventually come out of this study, but I’m not encouraged. We will most likely re-arrange the deck chairs… as the band plays on. LINK
Read the survey results below.
A few statistics concerning senior management..
and how their policies are viewed by the rank and file:
Senior managers are the commissioner and deputy commissioners.
Strongly agree Strongly disagree
Senior managers work to eliminate barriers that make it difficult
for staff to perform their job responsibilities
11.9 % 71.4 %
Senior managers provide constructive feedback on performance.
12.5 % 70.8 %
Senior managers encourage staff to improve their performance.
20.0 % 59.6 %
The Department has effective approaches to developing new senior leaders
10.4 % 70.9 %
Race or ethnicity does not affect how staff are treated by senior managers
within the Fire Dept.
17.9% 66.8 %
Gender does not affect how staff are treated by senior managers within
the Fire Dept.
23.4% 52.1 %
Fire Dept. leaders are held accountable for the decisions they make.
15.4 % 52.5 %
Fire Dept. leaders are open to new ways of doing business
3.3 % 90.1 %
Fire Dept. leaders encourage employees to find new and better ways
3.3% 88.1 %
Department members (administration, management, supervisors,
and field staff) work well together to address issues facing the PFD
12.0 % 70.2 %
F.D. managers and supervisors are willing to consider points of
view that are different from their own
17.0 % 65.5 %
Human Resource practices
The hiring process is fair
15.4 % 70.2 %
Persons who are hired (by the PFD) are competent
15.0 % 59.1 %
The PFD hires the best available job candidates
10.9 % 74.2 %
The hiring process is timely
Hiring decisions are made without regard to race
or ethnic background.
12.4 % 73.3 %
Hiring decisions are made without regard to gender
18.7 % 60.0 %
The promotion process is fair
15.8 % 68.1%
The best candidates for promotion are selected
The promotional process is timely
15.9 % 61.3%
Promotional decisions are made without regard to race
or ethnic background
15.5% 70.4 %
Promotional decisions are made without regard to gender
18.5% 60.4 %
The factors that are considered when making promotional decisions
are clearly articulated
The discipline process is fair
Discipline is consistently administered across the FD
Discipline is consistently applied across divisions,
offices and units
Discipline is consistently applied across shifts
Decisions relating to discipline are timely
Discipline decisions are made without regard to race
or ethnic background
Discipline decisions are made without regard to gender
The grievance process is fair
The grievance process is timely
9.5 % 62.3 %
The steps in the grievance process are well articulated
16.8 % 51.9%