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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Evaluations - The good and the bad

It is time for evaluations once again. I am already hearing the rumblings of how one Captain does things and how another does something totally different. That is expected due to how subjective the criteria are for each area of the evaluation are. For those of you who don't know, if you get above a 91 then you get an extra percentage raise for the year.

The biggest problem with the evaluations is that it is perfectly acceptable for a Captain to grade an employee between the ranges of 80-90.99 (forgive me if my figures are a little off), but if it is lower or higher then the BC on up have to sign off on it. That is where it starts getting weird.

Let us just say that Firefighter A gets an 85 and Firefighter B gets a 92 from the same Captain. The Captain has Firefighter A sign off on the evaluation and sends it to the BC. However, Firefighter B's evaluation has to be sent up the flagpole for approval before the firefighter ever sees it.

The Captain has to prove that the firefighter deserves the high score. Even after careful and detailed justification for the high marks a firefighter receives, the Captain might still have to plead the case for the favorable evaluation several times. Some Captains are able to stand their ground, yet others cave in under the pressure stripping the firefighter of the extra raise. I am not making this stuff up.

This is what I think. I think that it is a bunch of b#$&!hit. I think that firefighters (and others like Cops and Teachers) should get the extra amount of raise just for what we do. After all, the stations are clean, the public is happy, and we are always one of the most favored departments by the citizens. Plus there aren't any fires still burning, people still trapped in cars, or 911 calls unanswered. For as much as we give to our City, to our customers (citizens and visitors), and that we are willing to risk our lives for them, this extra percentage (or sometimes fraction of a percentage) should not be so hard to obtain.

This is yet another morale suppressing agent that breeds mediocrity. Once word gets out of who got what on the evaluation, some will realize that working a little extra harder might not be worth it.

For instance: Firefighter A and Firefighter B might be the exact same types of personnel in that any Captain would grade them the same. They both are hard working individuals and do extra work that isn’t required of them. However, if they have different Captains who grade them differently and Firefighter A gets the extra raise while Firefighter B doesn’t this might make Firefighter B realize that his extra work is not worth it.

I say "might" because most of us are not driven by the potential of a .5% extra raise. Although that .5% should not be shrugged of as not a big deal. The Chart below shows how .5% more can make a huge difference after 25 years. The column on the left shows a 2.5% increase compounded each year for 25 years, and the right hand column shows a 3% increase compounded each year.


$ 30,000.00


$ 30,900.00


$ 31,827.00


$ 32,781.81


$ 33,765.26


$ 34,778.22


$ 35,821.57


$ 36,896.22


$ 38,003.10


$ 39,143.20


$ 40,317.49


$ 41,527.02


$ 42,772.83


$ 44,056.01


$ 45,377.69


$ 46,739.02


$ 48,141.19


$ 49,585.43


$ 51,072.99


$ 52,605.18


$ 54,183.34


$ 55,808.84


$ 57,483.10


$ 59,207.60


$ 60,983.82

That is a significant difference. Therefore, the .5% or whatever the additional percentage raise offered for higher marks on your evaluation is well worth some extra effort. Just the same it is worth the credo to stand up for your evaluation should it be rejected by Administration.

The other unfortunate casualty in this whole process is the loss of power by Company Officers. They are the only ones who could possibly give a proper evaluation of their employees.


Anonymous said...

Here is a good example. A county officer who supervised a certain city employee gave him a great evaluation because he deserved it. The city BC sent it back and asked for a change (lower number) the county supervisor stuck to his guns and sent the evaluation back with the same score (and more documentation). From now one at the station mentioned the city Lt was told he would be doing evaluations. I guess so the city admin will have some control.

So in short it is good enough for our guys to be supervised by a county officer and ride county trucks and so on but when the county officer rewards them, our guys get the raw deal.

Anonymous said...

Im with your Rhett, on the issue of the chief having to look it over if the score is above a 90. They sure as hell dont work with me for 24 hours and see what i do day in and day out. The officer that works with him/her was trusted and given the responsibility as a captain to fill out the form that was given to them. by the way is 80 still 100
The ol grumpy guy

Anonymous said...

The actual pay raise is 4% below 91 and 5% above, so its even better than what you posted for .5%.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion the extra work to get the extra % is not worth it. Most of us have a second job to make ends meet, so to get the extra %, I am told I will have to be on committees, teach at the rookie school, go to college, etc. If I do these things, I will have to miss working some of my second job. I kinda of figured if I took some of my earnings from my second job( the amount of time I would be doing the above things,) and put them in an IRA I will more than make up that .5% to 1% that I would get in a raise and its effect on my retirement. PLUS, I could live with myself because I would not be a brown-noser I would not have to interact with administration.

The peace that comes in just doing your job well is underestimated.

Anonymous said...

As a Captain who has had evaluations returned, on my own time, (losing income from my second job, but sometimes you gotta do what is right by your crew) I met with Deputy Chief Tartaglia to try and get a better understanding from him as to what is needed to justify what I felt as a very deserving score over the magical line of 90. I was not put under any pressure to lower the scores I had given, however, I was asked to be more specific with detailed examples of what these individuals did to earn the score given by me. Generic terms such as "hard worker", "a real asset to the organization", or, "goes above and beyond minimum requirements" just won't cut it. I feel that if the Company Officer is truly working for their crew, he or she will make sure that they document as much as possible to accurately reflect the job that their crew is doing throughout the year so that they can be rewarded with a little more pay than the person does just enough to get by. I have found over the years that if you are willing to stand up for your people and treat them with respect that they will come to work, work hard, and do the little extra things that you can cite on the evals to justify the 90+ score. So you see, it kind of feeds on itself. I have had from time to time, some individuals assigned to my company that have been labeled as underachievers. But you know, if you take the time and effort to explain to them what is expected of them and what they can expect from you, up front when they are first assigned to you, and with the help of the rest of the company, their work ethic will usually improve. It may not happen overnite, but it has been my experience that it does happen. Is the current PFP Evaluation Form perfect? NO WAY! But it is much better than the old "Green Sheets" that we used to use. I am not the type of person who would usually hide behind a screen name but, in order to maintain confidentiality of the eval's of my crew I must remain anonymous