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Home / WLF TheySaid / R5 Fire Hire

  • 05/24/2016
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Anyone else notice how much of a joke this fire hire is. I am watching quality candidates gets passed over by line so they can meet diversity requirements. Even worst to all the hard working employees who deserve the job, the agency is giving them a slap on the face for going above and beyond. Seen this personally with numerous jobs. I hope those forest supervisor like their oustanding performance apprisal for doing this, while the ground troops moral is just going downhill even quicker. And they wonder why everyone is leaving the agency. Just show you that the agency only cares about numbers and diversity. If a major company practiced hiring like the government does, they would be done in the court of law. I hope some people speak up and talk to some professional about this, because I know I will be calling someone who Region 5 upper management does not like to hear from.

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  1. Bolla
    May 24, 2016 Reply

    On a side note… I have experienced some interesting “issues” when trying to hire fully qualified folks through the DOI Fire. I was told that if people are hired through the DOI fire option they are given no pre-existing years. How am I suppose to hire qualified people if we do not acknowledge their past experience? When I complained about this problem to my HR, they told me there was nothing they could do and I should write my congressman.

  2. Thndrchkn
    May 27, 2016 Reply

    You should see my forest..they just hired the significance other of my deputy fire into a AFMO Spot..complete joke. Ton of quality applicants on the list .I guess it pays to be in the bed with management…way to go firehire and my worthless forest. Way to keep it professional. Can anyone say nepotism..?

  3. R1 Capt
    May 27, 2016 Reply

    The shady hiring practices need to stop. When a location says they havent made a decision on a position but you talk to friends on the district its not the case? What a joke. Im glad I got in when I did 10 years ago because their are somedays it still feels like I am a seasonal, even as a perm. I feel bad for all these people trying to get in now.

  4. Lizard
    May 27, 2016 Reply

    I was asked if I am ENOP qualified by a Southern California Forest for an AFEO job. I told them no during the interview and that ENOP is not a requirement for an AFEO or FEO position in the US Forest Service. Never heard back from them again. Now that really pissed me off. Joke!

    1. Fire
      May 28, 2016 Reply

      Not having enop as a qualification would put you as a tier 2 or 3…they can’t offer to you unless all the ones have been exhausted…

  5. Fruition
    May 27, 2016 Reply

    Not every forest in region 5 has these problems. Some forests make the right decisions when selecting folks for promotions it depends on who you send up there as recommending officials. If your district doesn’t send a recommending official it’s there own fault for not fighting for promoting the right people. Strong leaders that know the field personnel are the ones that need to be at fire hire. Most of the selecting officials go along with the people that the recommending officials recommend. Line officers are sometimes good to have up there but only if they know their own personnel and what it takes to do the job effectively. One things for sure, there will always be people wining because they didn’t get promoted.

  6. Joke
    May 27, 2016 Reply

    Fruition, you just ate your own words there. I have been up to fire hire during selections, and yes the recommending official can select who the want, but the selecting official as the final say no matter what. But when a forest supervisor is the selecting official from somewhere up north and has no idea about how an employee does his or her job down south, they go off what they expect their employees up there to do. I have seen it many of times where the selecting official selected some different then the recommending official. So how can a forest supervisor off the Modoc or Lassen, etc know how we handle business down south on a daily basis. I have watch my own line officer select diverse candidates over some else that is more experienced, so they look good. Open your eyes man and look what is really going on. Line is the only one time and time again that gets cash bonus every year in the thousands and we put in for it for the true ground troops and it gets shot down every time. I try and give my some of my employees superior on their performance ratings and line comes back and says I can’t do that. So you tell me what is really going on.

  7. Little Bird
    May 27, 2016 Reply

    Fire hire is a joke. Last night I went out with one of my coworkers to have a beer and he told me some things that would make heads spin, he was up there as a recommending official. The biggest one is right, the selecting officials where told to hire diverse candidates or females first before considering anyone else. So if the recommending official picked someone other than that, the selecting official, a Forest Supervisor, went the other way. There is no way to prove this, but watch, the number of claims thru the union, EEO or other processes are going to see an increase. It just shows all the employees in the region that upper level management doesn’t care about their own ground troops. Basically the respect stops at the ADFMO level for the true workers. Sad too see it, but they wonder why the region can’t retain people anymore.

  8. Joke X 2
    May 28, 2016 Reply

    Only way to change the system is to fight the system. Call ASC ask for all documents related to the review of your application and why you were not selected. Ask for your SME sheets, reference checks, your leveling ranking and also ask for the leveling ranking criteria. Ask why you were not selected. Once you file a grievance you may then request this information from the selected candidate for the position(s) you were not selected for. Fight back! You may win, seen it happen more than a few times. This is the only way the hiring process will change is if it becomes too expensive to manage all the grievances.

  9. retired
    May 28, 2016 Reply

    What your seeing is the future of the FS. The WO and the Regional office care about 1 thing, diversity. This should be a sign that things are not going to get better regarding hiring, pay, respect or the portal to portal issue Casey is requesting. Don’t expect the new R5 Fire Director to support you. She didn’t support the troops when she was on the BDF. Get out while you have time!

  10. retired x 2
    May 28, 2016 Reply

    Retired said: Get out while you have time!

    I second, third and fourth that. Do whatever you can to get out. No plan to avoid having out firefighters paid at minimum wage. No communications. No visits to the Forests to meet and speak with Firefighters by the FAM Director. Confusing and opposing direction on all-hazard response, all leading to threats of the service will not back you up if something goes wrong. The region is in freefall.

    Do whatever you can. Apply to Counties, local governments, CALFIRE, DOD, where ever you can to find a department that will respect your hard work.

  11. Shameful SME
    May 29, 2016 Reply

    I hung my head in shame as I departed McClellan AFB on the last day of temp FireHire. Was only a ranking SME but I saw enough even dealing with temps that left me disgusted with our hiring practices.
    Its no wonder other regions out there flat-out refused to support a FireHire and instead were left with outsiders coming in to do the job for them.
    This is the kind of politicky thing that will require a massive group to speak out or a level-headed politician, of which I’m not sure any exist these days.

    1. AP Fever
      October 17, 2017 Reply

      I love Fire Hire…

  12. AK Old Timer
    May 29, 2016 Reply

    Time to dust off and up-date and repost a favorite post of mine from 2012:

    Re: Diversity Hiring

    I just took a stroll through the TheySaid archives and just about every month I was able to find discussions on Forest Service (FS) hiring practices and the FS attempt to meet diversity goals. This topic has been written about and discussed (and certainly cussed!) ever since Wildland fire was established.

    It’s time to step back a few chains and review some of the history of FS diversity hiring. In 1971 the Bernadi lawsuit (now known as the Consent Decree) was filed in Federal Court. In 1979 settlement terms were reached between the FS and Ms Bernadi and the terms were approved by the Federal Court Judge in 1981. Soon after the lawsuit was filed in 1971 the FS began a robust effort to “have a workforce which reflected/matched the ethnic diversity of the United States”. After having a class action lawsuit filed by female employees, the FS was terrified that other ethnic groups (Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc) would file similar class action lawsuits. Beginning in the early 1970’s the FS devised and implemented multiple plans, programs, and actions designed recruit, hire, and maintain a workforce which mirrored the nation’s ethnic and racial diversity.

    Well, it’s now 2016, 45 YEARS after the initial CD lawsuit was filed, and the Forest Service has still not been able implement or meet their gender, race, diversity objectives!

    Think about it – probably over 90% of the current Forest Service employees have been hired since 1971 and the Forest Service has still not been able implement or meet their gender, race, and ethnic diversity objectives!

    Think about it some more – thousands of Forest Service employees have been hired since 1971, have had a 30+ year careers and subsequently retired and the Forest Service has still not been able implement or meet their gender, race and ethnic diversity objectives!

    Think about it again– the Forest Service was formed 107 years ago and for 41 of those years has not been able implement or meet their gender, race, and ethnic diversity objectives!

    Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same things over and over and expecting different results”. That is exactly what the FS has done.
    Well, how, and is it possible, for the FS to meet the various diversity objectives? In my opinion it’s going to be very difficult hill to climb for many reasons. First of all, from several earlier TheySaid posters, the FS doesn’t have the foggiest idea of what the gender, race and ethnic statistics are for the current workforce. This data is self-reported by the employees and it appears many have elected not to report this info to ASC. And, since this information is considered “sensitive”, the employees (or their supervisors) cannot be required to check the appropriate blocks in the ASC data base. Somehow changes to laws or regulations must be made to require reporting.
    Until the size of the true disparity is known, it will be impossible to arrive at any solutions.

    Once the FS learns the true racial, gender and ethnic profiles of the Agency they need to take a hard look of what these numbers are compared against. I believe that using National statistics gives a very misleading target to obtain for the FS. Just looking at the tables, charts, and maps at the 2010 Census website demonstrates that the races and ethnic groups are not equitability distributed throughout the country. Just compare the numbers and percentages for ethnicity and races for Alabama, New Mexico and Utah. The statistical differences between the states and individual counties within the states, creates a disparity the FS will never be able to reach or overcome.
    To compensate for these dissimilarities I suggest the FS use data for the individual states or, more appropriately, the individual counties in which FS offices and land are situated. Maybe this will help create an Agency which reflected/matched the ethnic diversity of the area in which the FS has a presence.
    Next, and probably the most difficult, is changing the culture of the FS. We’ve all chuckled when we read that the FS was in the bottom 10% of Workforce Rankings of Federal Agencies. But, do many of you know the FS was in the top 10% not too many years ago? Hard to believe isn’t it. I believe the attempts to obtain diversity in the FS has caused much if not all of this downfall. The use of discrimination, favoritism, and quotas in hiring and promoting has made the FS a less than desirable place to work.
    The FS needs to become an “Employer of Choice” for all races, genders, and ethnicity…not just for the white males who are standing outside the Ranger Station looking in the windows. With the proper work environment of true leadership with honesty, fairness, respect and for ALL employees it can be accomplished. Think of the “Field of Dreams”, if you build it (a compassionate organization) they will come. Quality organizations will naturally attract quality potential employees.
    As far as the white males are concerned, the FS needs to devise a program where they can be considered equally amongst all candidates for a position. For the safety of everyone, quality must be the prime consideration for filling wild-land fire positions. The FS has invested thousands if not millions of dollars in training the white male firefighters. Also, consider the thousands of hours of wild-land firefighting experience they can contribute to the organization. These folks are a national resource the FS needs to have on their payroll.
    Remember, Safety is and always has been Job #1.
    The biggest mistake the FS made was to hire and promote quantity over quality. And they have had to live with this mistake and the disastrous results for over 40 years. I’m glad I can look back far enough to the “good ‘ol days” when the FS was a fun and exciting place to work!
    AK Old Timer

  13. Fly
    May 29, 2016 Reply

    You know they are making us go thru this Life First Engagement this year, but R-5 hiring practice are not going to be able to make LIFE FIRST matter. Their hiring practices are going to get people killed and I hope they hold Line responsible for this. They are the one who hire diversity over experienced. Just shows even more they don’t care about the true workers.

  14. droneforce
    May 29, 2016 Reply

    All SME’s and Recommending Officials should refuse to participate unless directed to do so in writing. Only way to make a statement is to stand up and fight back. Once directed in writing, then the Green Flu is going around. Or you can continue to take it, do as directed and never make a difference.

    A certain central California Forest that I happen to work on is well known for there inappropriate decisions and working relationships with other Forests. My Forest does everything it can to pick diversity over best applicant and does everything it can to pick off diverse applicants from other Forests. Needless to say the representative we send to fire hire is not the most popular in the room. She’s not to popular on our Forest as well.

  15. Great Basin Guy
    May 30, 2016 Reply

    R5 is the worst for fire hire. I’ve applied to a perm GS 5/6 position 4 times in a row now and keep getting told im not qualified when I have 5 years of experience in the specific job. Yet they are hiring people who have no experience and are going to push their needed quals for the job through the red card committee because the job requires these quals with in 90 days of being appointed to the job.

  16. Freshly Salty
    May 30, 2016 Reply

    Its not just Fire Hire. This generation is terrible. Just plane awful. I agree with the above post. Leave this agency ASAP. Ag Learn and PC shit for brains at the SO are good at teaching the give me generation how to fuck over hard working career long fire men. All because the pussy was yelled at so he/she filed paperwork. R-5 is the worst. The Forest Service use to mean something to me. I am just not sure it does anymore. Hey Randy and Shawna. Wanna know something? You two are terrible people. Both that got their jobs based on fuck ups and diversity hiring. your what is wrong with the FS. Shame on both of you. Shame on the WO too.

  17. droneforce
    May 31, 2016 Reply

    Everyone needs to stick together, make them change the fire hire process. Everyone who applied and not selected must contact ASC and ask for your strengths and weakness worksheet, your reference checks, your leveling numerical score, most importantly the leveling criteria that created your leveling score (this will help you in the future to edit your application) and ask why you were not selected. Everyone needs to do this and fight back if your were treated unfairly.

  18. Ex FS Guy
    June 5, 2016 Reply

    As an Ex Forest Service employee i have to agree with eveything that hs been said in this discussion. Get out now while DoD, CAL FIRE, County and City Fire Departments are doing a big mass hire, to replace people who retire, promote, leave to other departments, injuries or become self employed.

    The next 3-5 years the Southern R-5 Forest (Angeles, San Berdino, Cleveland, LP, and SQF) will lose a good amount just to CAL FIRE alone. Dont believe me, ask the San Bernardino National Forest as they took the biggest retention hit on how many of there loyal 5-10 year plus employees went over to CAL FIRE. Municipalities LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hire FS people because of the good work ethic, experience and may i add, we come well trained.

    The once respected Forest Service is no more, long gone, and never to return again to what it once was. The way the FS deals business is unimaginable. All the way from how they treat employee’s and the extremely crappy hiring practices. My old forest is practically giving away detail positions to first and second year apprentices, because they cant keep up fast enough to fill them with qualified people. If thats not a safety issue, then honestly, i dont know what is.

    After my seventh year with the Forest Service i realized that, it is never going to change for the better. Its only going to get worse. Like many of you, i have seen quality employees get passed up on classes, training opportunities, fire assignments, and possible promotions. And straight out, given to other employee’s due to diversity, favortism/ golden childs, and nepotism. I for one im happy that i finally got the courage and took a chance at another Department. And you know what, i absolutely love it. I shpuld have left a long time ago.

    And this thing i keep on reading about stcking together. Thats wishful thinking. An illusion that im sorry to say but, being a LONG time Forest Service guy i konw all too well that it will never happen. My last few years with the FS i was just there to collect a pay check and that was it. If i had love for the job it wasnt because i had love for the FS but because i had love for my coworkers. Honestly and i hope people in the WO and Regional Office up in Vallejo see and read this. Southern California R-5 Forest Service employees are just there for a paycheck, and thats it. They are not there for the love of the job. That ship has sailed and is long and gone. All thanks to the Tidwell’s and Randy Moore’s of the Forest Service. May the Forest Service one day become great again to where people passionately enjoyed going to work and not have to deal with the political drama that has now become the norm!

  19. EXFS
    June 8, 2016 Reply

    There is alot of entitlement in the comments section here.

    I’ve always found it amusing when the “OH NO! Diversity Hires are taking over the system!” card gets thrown around. I spent my entire career with the FS (over a decade) working with and for a majority white male workforce. Supervisors, coworkers, subordinates.

    The US Forest Service Fire and Aviation Program has a very serious issue with how minorities and women are treated in their ranks. I’ve personally witnessed outright sexual and racial preference play out in hiring, training and everyday work activities. I still hear stories from people that work for the FS of these issues. Many do not make noise because they are afraid their future career will be harmed.

    As many others have noted in the comments, if you don’t like the culture of the FS (there are many reasons not to), stop complaining and do something about it. Find a new job, expand your horizons. Of course, this requires that you can back up your high opinion of yourself with a resume and skillset that will get you hired.

    Life is too short to be unhappy in a job that requires long hours and days like firefighting. I left, and I’m much happier for it, but I had many reasons beyond poor hiring practices and low pay.

  20. Baby Eagle
    June 9, 2016 Reply

    I agree with EXFS but disagree with all the white male complaintants , go to any FS Headquarters and look at the pictures on the walls ! Not a lot of color going on there for forest supervisors or upper management, when i was a Jumper I boosted in a lot of states and forests and it was very apparent this is a White Mans agency and they will do anything to keep it that way… Including paying millions if not billions in settlements as ling as the majority of management that leads and directs it are White.

  21. Jumping ship
    June 11, 2016 Reply

    So I was one of those employees that interviewed for three jobs and did not get anything. There is a couple of things that have came up that I question about fire hire. Two of them are big issues but when I talked with my union rep, they would hard to prove it actually had a factor in selections without having the person who got selected for the job back my case, but that will not happen. So the first issue, is line and fire management where coaching (basically telling the employee how to answer the interview questions) who ever they wanted to make sure got the job. So in their interviews, they would answer the questions to a tee. The problem here is they did not open this up to every employee. The only way I found out was a co worker of mine was on the phone with the district ranger when I walked into the office, and taking notes and talking about the questions for the interview. After the fact I asked my co worker about that call, didn’t want to seem to nosey, and found out the ranger had called them directly to coach them on their interview. Then the employee asked me, did the ranger call you? I did not answer that question and just walked away, because the ranger called me. The other issue was, I interviewed for jobs on other forest, and only had one selecting official in the interview process. But when I talked with other people that only applied for jobs on that forest, the selecting official was someone else who gave them an interview. So how can an selecting official make a selection when they did not interview me. How is this fair and equal treatment for an interview process. I am going to seek advice from an OPM lawyer that specializes in federal hiring to see where I can take this. If there is a case, I will file and push it, because then if I face retaliation, I’ll have a bigger case against line and fire management. Hope Region 5 is ready for another class action lawsuit coming their way.

  22. Maybe...
    June 23, 2016 Reply

    Could it be that there are not a lot of “diverse” people who want to do this job?

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