I am writing in regards to the current controversy over Chief Exec. Palmer’s proposed new hiring to the Butte-Silver Bow Fire Deptartment.
I am a retired Battalion Chief with over thirty-nine years of service with the B-SB Fire Dept. During that time I served on the fire department applicant screening committee.
Through the efforts of the Montana Fire Fighters Testing Consortium, the B-SB Fire Dept. and applicant screening committee, and the B-SB Fire Commission, an impartial and efficient process has been established to advance to the Chief Exec. a list of qualified candidates ranked from highest qualified to lowest.
Each candidates ranking is based on their history of service in fire fighting, career and/or volunteer, structural and/or wildland; service as an Emergency Medical Service provider; college degrees; advanced fire fighting and/ E.M.S certifications; military service; and an oral interview by the B-SB Fire Commission. Past practice has seen the higher-ranked candidates offered positions in the fire department.
Chief Exec. Palmer has publicly stated he is breaking from the norm in this instance although he has followed the norm with the last three hires. He now proposes to hire candidates who are lower on the list than all others.
He has eliminated two higher-ranked candidates simply because they are not Butte residents. The application for the B-SB Fire Department does not require an applicant to be a resident nor does it state a candidate can be excluded from consideration for not being a B-SB resident. Further these candidates incurred travel expenses to come to Butte for their interview believing their ranking would be fairly evaluated by the Chief Exec. Since Palmer had no intention of considering them, I think Palmer should personally reimburse their expenses.
Two higher-ranked Butte candidates were dropped. One for being employed and one for undisclosed personal reasons.
I am angry and frustrated that Palmer has corrupted this process. He disregards and disrespects those working to provide all candidates a fair process. A process designed to evaluate and rank candidates based on their merits. A process that identifies the best people to serve our county.
The real damage is that in the future how will any candidate, local or non resident, believe in this process and fair consideration?
Chief Exec. Palmer, what you propose to do may be legal, but it certainly is not right.
Joe McCarthy, Butte