FENZ Leadership Structure

To say that the recently announced FENZ Leadership Structure is bad news for both Operational Firefighters and the Community is an understatement – it is an absolute tragedy. Make no mistake – this is not a merger; it is a takeover - with Rural taking over the Urban Service and the Urban Service being even more weakened by the total domination by Civilians.

This is a foolish, ill thought-out and wrong decision by a Commission hopelessly out of their depth. It is a decision contrary to the advice of both Fire Service Management and the FENZ Transition Office and the Union.

The Commission are totally on transmit and not receive.

Attached is correspondence to the Chair of the Commission.

Thanks for the face-to-face brief you gave Peter and myself regarding Leadership Structure of FENZ.
The Union would ask that this correspondence to be circulated to other members of the Commission.
The Union position, on first, blush, is one of deep disappointment.
Our understanding of the Governments objectives as expressed in the Bill, was to merge Urban and Rural, to do away with antiquated and silly artificial boundaries to create one Fire and Emergency Service.
There is little doubt that decisions of the Commission does not come close to achieving this. In fact it does the opposite – perpetrating the myth that somehow Rural deserves its own stand-alone status. It is a fact that over 95% of FENZ work will be carried out by persons presently in the Fire Service. Quite what a National Manager Rural and 5 Region Managers Rural will actual do is a real mystery – probably nothing but cause grief for the NCU and RFMs.
I can say with some certainty that once those new Rural position are established, you will not be able to ever get rid of them.
The structure you have determined is nothing more than a job retention scheme for Rural Fire Officers.
It is not the forward seeing and courageous decision that was necessary and make no mistake, will not improve Fire and Emergency Services to our Communities.
The decision to appoint a Civilian Chief Executive, although we knew this was an agenda, is however a deplorably bad decision.
FENZ ought to be all about the Operational Response but it will be all about Corporate functions. Operational Commanders will be subordinate to Civilian Control – a Civilian CE will have no creditably with Operational Personnel and rightly so.
Even in the Fire Service this has been tried and has failed. Quite why there is no learning from history another mystery.
No capable and creditable person from overseas would be interested in the National Commander role when:
They have to report to a Civilian Chief Executive; and There is a Rural counterpart
As well no capable and creditable person from overseas (Uniformed) would be interested in the Chief Executive Position if they are not to be in charge of Operations.
Paul, as I said above, this is an initial response but you need to know that as far as Firefighters are concerned, this is a very poor start to FENZ, and is quite contrary to what the Union has strongly advocated and informed you.
On the 10 person on the SLT, only one has an Operational background or responsibility. This is not right and you can be sure will cause to Commission more real problems.
You may have kept a handful of PRO happy and you may have satisfied the Bureaucrats who have told you to Civilianise Top Level Management, but you have not kept the 1850 members of the Union happy – and unfortunately you may well find that those are the persons you ought to have listened to.

Paul Swain replied

Appreciated the chance for a face to face meeting this morning.
Your views are noted.
Just to clarify: there is no decision in the announcement "to appoint a Civilian Chief Executive"

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