Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Forestry Good to Great

What a good year.

Going chronologically Doug Decker was selected State Forester, firefighters kept ‘em small, Stewardship Forester positions were reinstated, the State Forest revenue slide was less steep, and our contract was ratified. ODF’s front line firefighters deserve a special note because they kept the fires small when lightning struck day after day saving both Oregon’s Forests and fire fighting budget. For the second year in a row ODF did not deploy a full IMT to an Oregon wildfire suppression incident.

Getting to great

As good as the year was there are ways to improve and move towards great. These are my observations from Labor/ Management meetings and other sources that I see as the trends, opportunities, and awareness items for 2012 and in keeping with the season’s traditions here is my list:

Tents and field gear: Let’s get this solved and off the table. Incident lodging has been contentious ever since we moved into tents more than 10 years ago. During bargaining this year a collaborative approach was developed to address the issue and the committee that just met has my support in developing good recommendations for the Executive Committee.

Position descriptions: This year look at your PD during your annual review and make sure it describes what you are currently doing. We are all doing “more” but when that extra work adds responsibilities you may be eligible for additional compensation.

Physical fitness: For professional firefighters and others seeking to participate in the fire program the primary path to that work is through the Work Capacity Test. A level of fitness is needed to safely be part of a wildfire suppression team.

Professional organizations: Join them if you can, attend their meetings if allowed, just share ideas and bring new ones back. Maybe you will discover a way to improve operations.

Prepare for advancement: Look for the leadership opportunities where you work. One leadership opportunity is to become the Steward of your District. Currently there are openings and developing your leadership ability is part of the training. Ask a local officer or your organizer how to become one.

For 2012 find something you love doing and do it.

Best wishes

Dave Wells
Forestry Local 629 President