City Government

Fire Captain To Respond As New Chief

Dennis Doan has his work cut out for him as Boise’s new fire chief. According to a press release from Team Dave, the former captain has only “fire station commander” in his administrative background.

That could be risky since the 17 year veteran firefighter will now be in charge of more than 200 firefighters AND a budget of close to $40,000,000. Typically a captain is commander of only two other firefighters and a pumper truck during his shift.

Word on the fire trucks says Doan is an able and amiable fireman with plenty of specialty training under his belt. As former union president–who assisted Team Dave with the November victory–he will change sides as a management guy.

With retirements looming for the top commanders of the department, citizens could see lots of changes in the coming year. The GUARDIAN wishes Doan all the best in the new endeavor.

Councilor Vern Bisterfeldt applauded Mayor Dave Bieter,s decision to hire from within the ranks of the department.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Most progressive fire agencies of similar size and larger have national searches and typically hire from outside the department, such as they did for BPD.
    Given the increasing complexities of both the fire service and of Boise, I am surprised that the BG didnt focus on this apparent political payback by the mayor more, and on the adverse effect it could have for the city of Boise for decades to come.

    This is why a Public Safety Ombusdman or advisory committee is neede dmore than a police ombudsman, to at least try to make sure that descisions like this are looked at.

    Does this bother any one else??????? Would this be tolorated if it was the police chief?

    On a related note….It will be interesting to see wich way the already strained relations with Ada County Paramedics go, considering that David Doan has a long standing history with ACEMS. Now in his new position, he has more swinging room to push his axe against the grindstone. If that occurs, the only people to benift with be the IAFF, certainly not the patient nor the public. Look for new incidents of anti-ACEMS actions on the street now that there is a chief who is likely to be tolorant (promote?) those behaviors.

    EDITOR NOTE–We happen to agree on this one. GUARDIAN finds it hard to accept ANY Boise fire captain is qualified to get hired by a $40 million department anywhere EXCEPT Boise. We don’t know Doan, feel obligated to give him a chance, but Team Dave probably should have expanded the search. Put another way, would a $40,000,000 private firm hire him as CEO to manage fleets, personnel, budget, legal, construction, political matters?

  2. I find it interesting that while Doan may be a completely capable fire chief, one of the first concerns is why would Bieter choose someone from deep within the ranks, who just happened to deliver the union to his campaign even before he declared. It would seem that Doan has his work really cut out for him, both administratively and politically.

  3. Mike Murphy, Bull Moose Tenor
    Feb 9, 2008, 9:22 am

    Like the President of the United States, and the CEO’s of most large organizations / entities, Chief Doan’s primary responsibility will be to set the tone and direction of his department.

    Does anyone think Lee Iaccoca knew how to build a transmission?

    Did FDR know how to fire a 16 inch gun?

    Can Donald Trump weld?

    That’s what the department retains Accountants, Procurement Specialists, Etc., for.

    Give the man a chance. If he screws up I’ll be 1st in line to throw him under a bus.

    P.S. The whole Cops vis-a-vis Fire Fighters leadership thing? Apples and Oranges!

    P.P.S. Our firefighters had the cajones to tell the PD to take a flying leap when the PD tried to order them to “Water Canon” a bunch of rowdies outside of the Big Easy Concert House.

  4. Mike Lockman
    Feb 9, 2008, 1:10 pm

    First of all, people who post comments need to learn how to spell correctly and actually review their grammar (especially if they tend to write reports for public review). Second, if you’re going to use specific names you should probably be sure that it is the correct first and last name that you put together (i.e. David Doan?).

    EDITOR NOTE–I am at the southern end of the world in Argentina trying to give you guys a platform. If I made DENNIS a DAVID, sorry. Hard to edit our weak spellers on a rented cyber cafe computer with no spell check.

  5. Oh, my God!
    Somebody actually promoted somebody from within, instead of spending thousands of dollars searching the nation for someone who doesn’t even know where Boise is, what its concerns are, the history of the department, agency, university or whatever.
    I’m shocked.

    OK, I’m also sarcastic — I think this promotion is great, and I hope it works out well.
    I’m fed up with boards, officials, companies etc. that assume anyone who lives in Idaho obviously isn’t smart enough for whatever job they’re trying to fill. They do nationwide searches (spending lots of bucks that could have been used for something needed) instead of looking for someone qualified within their own ranks, or at least their own town or state.
    Mr. Guardian, do you actually think that someone who was one of the best editors at the New York Times or some other big paper thousands of miles away could do a better job of running this show than you do?
    Yeah, probably he could — after he’d lived in this area for 30 years or so, working a variety of jobs (well, at least cop, photographer, and whatever else you’ve been doing over the years), meanwhile reading the local papers, listening to people around town, etc.

    P.S. to Mike Lockman: If you’re going to criticize spelling, grammar, etc., it would be more effective if you used proper grammar and syntax.
    Grammatically, “specific names” (plural) … “it (singular) … doesn’t work.

    If you’re going to criticize, prepare to be criticized in return (and, yep, feel free to blast away and my errors, too).

    Plus, saying “first of all” and then having only a “second” doesn’t quite work.

  6. Nemo

    I am offended by the comment that Chief Doan has a history with ACEMS that does not have patients and the citizens of Boise at heart. I hope the new Chief starts holding ACEMS accountable for paying rent in the fire stations they reside in. I hope he starts making ACEMS live by the rules and regulations set forth by the captains that are held accountable for what happens in the station. And I hope he will quit subsidizing ACEMS by allowing them to staff 1 man cars knowing that BFD will drive them in, taking engine companies out of service and down grading the service delivery BFD can provide for the citizens of Boise. To me that benefits the citizens of Boise!

  7. Sorry, I know Mr. Doans name, it was late at night and the lo-tech spam filter must have clouded my brain!

    Leap to your mans defense all you want, but the fact remains the same, Mr. Doans sole claim to the Chief-dom is his union ties.

    Doesn’t bode well for a number of reasons. Union interest are not always the best interest of the department, nor of the public, and their tactics are more often than not adversarial rather than cooperative.

    Would you want Jimmy Hoffa running the PD?

  8. Nemo,
    It offends me to see you post that our new Chief does not have the Citizens of Boise best interest at heart.

    I believe the following are in the best interest of the citizens of Boise:

    – Having ACEMS pay rent to reside in the fire stations
    – Forcing ACEMS to adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the Captain who is responsible for the station
    -Stop subsidising ACEMS by allowing them to staff 1 man ambulances knowing BFD will take a engine out of service to drive them into the Hospital.

    Nemo, just because BFD does not go along with everything the leadership of ACEMS tries to ram down our throat, doesn’t mean we don’t have the best interest in mind!

  9. Mike Murphy, Bull Moose Tenor
    Feb 10, 2008, 12:59 pm

    FIRE IN THE HOLE ! ! !

  10. Nemo,

    As for your comments “Strained Relations with Ada County Paramedics go” and “Look for new incidents of anti-ACEMS actions on the street now that there is a chief who is likely to be tolerant (promote?) those behaviors”.

    Maybe you should look into your own organization and it’s “so called leadership” and reflect on some of the past tactics or rather antics that have gone on the “streets” and in the stations and are STILL going on.

    Come on Nemo, you know of the anti-BFD, MFD, NACFR, KFD, SFD, EFD, Ada-Boi, NPA actions by ACEMS that take place every day, ok, maybe not everyday, just depends who’s on that day. Please don’t make it sound like ACEMS is the innocent little child that is constantly getting picked on by the big mean bullies, because it’s not.

    The problem is probably 5% of the people cause the B.S. problems on the street and the rest of us just want to do a good job and go home at the end of the shift.

    What type of person will you be, one that’s part of the problem or what thats part of the solution?

  11. Nemo,
    You should try to give the guy a chance. Bashing the fire union won’t fix the problems YOU have created with ACEMS

  12. Nemo
    A late night? Your post was at 6:54pm!! I am starting to see a pattern with your postings, your full of crap!!

  13. Mike Murphy, Bull Moose Tenor
    Feb 10, 2008, 4:30 pm

    It’s the B.S., M.S., PhD that they hand out at City Hall that concerns me!

    And those bastards at the ASPCA, ACLU, DBA, GBAD, BUG, CINCPAC, NATO, USDA, MDA, BSD, BPL, IBEW, ConEd, NASDAQ, and NTIPA.

    Oooo, they make me SO angry!

    ; )

  14. Simple Fact, even Dennis will admit he has no fondness for ACEMS,do we really expect that will change with a white hat on his head? Or will he run unchecked and take out his prior beefs with ACEMS?

    What about his interactions with other agencies?

    Im not for throwing anyone under the bus (as one person put it), even Dennis. But I believe that someone in Dennises positon should be collaborative..something he has not, to my knowledge, demonstrated in his prior dealings with ACEMS. And that is somthing that many chiefs have to be, thats something we would have gotten in a new chief from a national search (hopefully).

    I guess you all know which way I think this will go. I really do hope Im wrong, as a resident here. Either way, his actions will set the tone for his entire department.

    While an outside chief may have embraced those same hostilities as well, he (or SHE???) may not, but we know where Dennis’s preferences lie.

    The emergency crews who respond together need to be able to trust each other. With Dennis at the helm, what little trust that has returned after the crap of the past 5 years or so, uneasy as it is, is in danger…Like I said, look for that to dissappear (again).

    And remember , it was BFD that threw the first punch in the beer gardens ohh so many years ago.

  15. robert lilly
    Feb 10, 2008, 7:55 pm

    Where did the ACEMS director come from? He came from within. No international search, no looking on the moon, no need to look further than Glenwood. I’m sure the Ada County Commission felt Troy Hagen was competent to do the job, just as the Mayor feels that Dennis is competent to do the job. Now let’s get serious. Do you really think the Mayor would commit political suicide by naming a person to a high post, simply because he was in a past union leadership position? What is wrong with an amicable relationship between Management and Labor? Do you think we should be polarized? What benefit would it be to the citizens of Boise who we serve, if we were always is a contentious battle. By the way…it appears you work for ACEMS. Why not come out of your cyber-closet. Grow a set and tell us who you really are.

  16. Another simple fact, I don’t have a fondness for ACEMS as an organization, but I like 90% of the people that work there. And your right, crews do need to trust one another. Like I said Nemo, you need to look at your own leadership and organization before throwing stones at BFD’s.

    Besides, If you dislike fire so much, stop applying for a position with them.

    And in reference to the “first punch in the beer garden”. Weren’t you in Junior High or maybe even grade school when that happened? Get over it.

    One last thing, What do paramedics and firemen have in common…they both want to be fireman.

  17. Nemo, you are starting to sound like my first wife! In fact, you are starting to sound like EVERYONES first wife. Is your life so tenuous that you are compelled to bring up Ancient History to make a point?
    It is obvious that the new chief has one tough row to hoe just with the fact that he was promoted over so many senior officers. Now add to the mix that he was heavily involved in Bieter’s campaign, I am not so sure Bieter has done this guy any favors. I agree with Bull Moose, (Good Lord, I never thought I would say that) give the guy an opportunity to succeed. He has a heavy enough millstone that Bieter has hung on him from the start.

  18. Wow, Nemo,”…first punch at the beer garden”. Nothing will change as long as you have discord in your heart. As for being collaborative, the BFD under Renn Ross bent over backwards to accomadate ACEMS. Placing ambulances in fire stations at little or no cost to the county, what do you call that? Being collaborative is a two way street. Not just ACEMS’s way. You are getting your nose bent out of joint for what? 95+% of Boise Firefighters try very hard to get along with ACEMS. You feel threatened because BFD starts to hire Paramedics to improve service delivery to the citizens of Boise. You shouldn’t be, you should accept change and work for the betterment of the people of Boise. Instead, you are bashing a new chief before his first day on the job. I believe that Chief Doan will have the support of the Mayor,(very important for a department head),the council (he has to be approved by a majority of the members first,equally important)and most important of all the backing of the members of the Fire Department. Without that he is just a guy in an office downtown. Now why don’t you be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem?

  19. Mike Murphy, Bull Moose tenor
    Feb 11, 2008, 3:39 pm

    The “Battle-of-the-Badges” didn’t originate, nor will they end, in Boise.

    Hell… Ground Zero was still smoking when the NYPD and NYFD starting throwing Hay-Makers at each other again.

    Turf Wars, Baby!

  20. Let the games begin! Wow. I haven’t been on the post for a while but I see things haven’t changed much. I would like to congratulate Dennis and wish him the best of luck. Being on top is a hard place to get to and a harder to place to want to stay at times. I personally believe Dennis is a smart guy and will do the right thing for the right reasons and he is accountable to the City Council. I remember sitting on a street corner parking lot when Dennis was a “Fire Captain” and he happened to pull in with the crew from 21. He graciously offered us a place to stay for the day so we didn’t have to live in the rig for 12 hours. It was genuine and it has not been forgotten.

    As for Dennis’ quals, he is well versed in the operations of the Fire Dept having been a Capt for many years, he is politically connected and understands that process, which should give him an advantage having a broad perspective on many issues and concerns from both ends of the spectrum. As well he was a union president which gives him still more insight into the labor process. In my view it was a good decision and the right choice. I remember feeling the same way when the Ada County Comissioners chose Troy to run ACP because it was someone I was familiar with and also someone I trusted as an employee.

    If the BFD guys are happy with it and the City council / mayor is happy with it then that’s all that really matters. Besides, I’m sure Dennis has more important things on his plate right now then figuring out how he can start picking fights with EMS.

    Best of luck to you Dennis.

  21. Mike Lockman
    Feb 14, 2008, 3:29 pm

    Dear Gordon

    Was my sarcastic attempt at poking fun at Nemo’s spelling and grammatical errors upsetting you so much that you felt compelled to wake up at 3am and one-up me? I knew that someone anal enough would find the time to pick my submission apart and find my grammatical errors. The amusing part is when someone responds. How long did you study my note to find my “syntax” errors?
    You miss the whole point of my intent. Nemo got on the thread to bash one of my brothers and spew his thoughts and beliefs as truth. Instead of firing back and slinging mud, I decided to poke fun at his spelling. Dig? (this is a poke at your note, hehe!)
    Whether or not an editor proofreads our notes before posting them, I believe it is our own personal responsibility to think about what we choose to say on these forums and stick to the facts. That is why I chose to take the safe route and poke fun at something petty (ie. someone’s spelling errors) rather than spread hate and discontent like certain anti-fire individuals.
    You, Gordon, should be asleep at 3 am.

  22. Mike Murphy, Pontificus Maximus
    Feb 14, 2008, 7:30 pm

    “I may disagree with everything you say Sir, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”.

    I dare say that this blog and democracy itself suffers when those concerned enough about their community are damned for voicing their opinions (however disguised or presented).

    I’ll take fire and gasoline over white bread and 2% any day!

    But what the @#$% do I know.

  23. Both the EMS and Fire respondents in this blog are really coming across as ego-centic and self-centered. 6 months ago my son suffered a cardiac arrest and it was EMS and Fire that argued on the sign “whoose patient it was” why my son lay dead at my feet. The way both sides presented themselves and then proceeded to treat my family was absolutely despicable. I wouldn’t let either of you get close to my dog..and I hate my dog. My son died, no thanks to either side. You all should be sued for your neglience in allowing your egos to drive your behavior rather than focus on the good of the patient. Perhaps you should focus on coming together for the good of the citizen rather than making sure you can demonstrate which side has the bigger gonads.

  24. Mr. Tait,
    Please accept my condolences on your loss. And my apologies for the circumstances under which you formed your opinion. Sometimes, even though we passionately believe in our respective positions,we lose sight of what the goal is here.
    Your situation brings into the light of day the pettiness in which some of our public agencies operate. I guess this is an open statement to the BFD and ACEMS. You two children can fight all you want behind your station house doors. But when you get in front of the public, you better damn well be on the same page. Simply because we are paying your bills. Capiche??

  25. I think that ACEMS and BFD would both agree that even though we have our differences, the patient is still the first priority and is currently recieving the best out of hospital care possible. Whatever happened with Mr. Tait is not the norm. Our Firefighters and County medics are the best.

  26. Joe Cleveland
    Feb 18, 2008, 6:02 pm

    Mr. Tait I would like to know more of the facts of your incident. Who were the crews that came out to your home.(Basically what fire engine came.)And I would like to know how they treated your family. Have you filed a complaint or lawsuit because of the negligence you perceived?
    I myself cannot believe that ACEMS and BFD were fighting over whose patient it was. The system is set up to where ACEMS is in charge on medical calls. No questions. I also find it very hard to believe that they(ACEMS and BFD)were in any other way than respectful towards your family. If either of this is untrue please elaborate because this incident should not only be just posted on here, but if it was me I would want media attention, the city and county attorney’s attention, and the Fire Chief and ACEMS director’s attention.

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