Evaluations – The good and the bad

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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.

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