Petition Asks Mayor and Hoard of Estimate to Create Additional Deputy and Battalion Chiefs —Filed with Consent of Commanding Officers

A COMMITTEE of Battalion Chiefs and Captains of the New York Fire Department who are on the eligible list for promotion to the rank of Deputy Chief of Department and to Chief of Battalion, have petitioned the Mayor and other members of the New York City Board of Estimate to create five additional Deputy Chiefs of Department and thirtyfive additional Chiefs of Battalion in order to eliminate in those ranks the existing inequality of serving continuously as “Acting Deputy Chiefs” and “Acting Battalion Chiefs.”

The petition, in printed form, has been supplied to each member of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, which is the municipal authority with control over the City budget and the appropriations therefor. The petition, was filed with the consent and the approval of Fire Commissioner Thomas J. Drennan and Fire Chief John Kenlon — a concession, which of itself spells almost certain victory. The matter is now before the Director of the Budget. Edward J. Buckley, for his investigation and report. It will be another week or more before the matter finally comes back to the Board for its decision.

In their prayer for relief from the non-compensatory responsibilities of “Acting Chiefs” the Captains who have been working on the opposite platoon to Chiefs of Battalion and the Chiefs of Battalion who have been working on the opposite platoon to deputy chiefs of department, set forth in detail their grievances.

They set up the claim that the platoon system which Mayor Hylan granted to the firemen of New York before the platoon law became effective, imposes on those in the rank immediately below Deputy Chief of Department and also Chief of Battalion, the added responsibilities of such tours of “Acting Chieftainships” without the equivalent in salary, rank, or seniorty but with the equivalent in responsiblity however.

It is alleged that Acting Chief Officers, for many years, indeed since 1865, have obediently met the emergency of filling-in for those immediately above them, on such occasions as meal leaves, regular leaves of absence, vacation leaves, death leaves, absences due to illness and other unforeseen conditions, but since the inauguration of platoons, a chronic, rather than an acute condition presents itself, according to those seeking promotion.

The principle involved in the argument presented by the chgibles, is at least partially acknowledged by the fact that for a few years past, one Division of the Department — the 3rd Division, has had two full fledged Deputy Chiefs of Department assigned to it. This is likewise true of a couple of the Battalions, in which fullfiedged Battalion Chiefs have hecn working the platoon system between them.

One of the barriers that has for some time stood in the path of the ambition of Acting Chiefs to obtain the full right, title and interest in the position they were fulfilling, was the delicate question of — which one of the two chiefs will be responsible for the administration, morale, discipline and efficiency of the Division or Battalion?

That question has now been answered by Chief Kenlon himself, although he as head of the whole outfit, was the one who raised it, in years gone by. He is now known to take the stand that it the plan of dual chiefs in Divisions and Battalions goes through and the requisite promotions are made, the chief officer who may be senior in the grade will be the one whom he will hold responsible. Chief Kenlon still adheres very strongly to the contention that “divided authority is no authority” and in that contention he has been borne out in the past by more than one or two unpleasant instances of dual responsibility.

The chief officer to be regarded as senior in the grade is the one who is senior in that rank and not senior in point of service. In other words, if two chiefs are paired in a certain Division or Battalion, the one most recently appointed to the rank will be junior, even though he may have been in the department much longer than his younger comrade.

Greenville, Pa., Will Protest Water Rate Raise—The borough council of Greenville, Pa., is taking steps to arrange a formal protest before the Public Service Commission on a proposed water rate raise of the Greenville Water Company. The increase asked for, it is claimed, means an increase in borough fire protection rates of more than 68 per rent. The consumer would also be affected by the raise which ranges from 60 cents to $20 per year, depending on the service. The raise was made by the company following the expenditure of about $50,000 in improvements to the local reservoir.

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