Fairfax County Fire Chief Richard Bowers, in collaboration with the Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) and county staff, has released the “Organizational Climate Review Action Plan,” developed in response to issues identified in an organizational assessment of the department completed earlier this year by the Titan Group, a human resources consulting firm.
“This action plan presents the men and women of the Fire and Rescue Department with the opportunity to strengthen our organization. Accomplishing the goals and initiatives presented will take hard work and determination and we will not accomplish them overnight," said Bowers. "However, I know that we are up to the task and committed to making a lasting positive imprint that will serve our department today and into the future.”
The organizational assessment was based on the perceptions of FRD members who participated and it identified five core themes of the department’s culture: dedication; leadership; bullying/harassment/discrimination; conflict management; and hiring/promotions.
The action plan focuses on the organizational climate and cultural change, centered around five corresponding goals: enhancing and sustaining dedication and creating a safe, positive and welcoming workplace environment; enhancing and sustaining effective leadership and professional development; reviewing and enhancing policies, education, training, reporting, compliance and investigative/accountability practices to ensure zero tolerance of bullying, harassment, discrimination and retaliation; developing, enhancing and providing effective human relations and conflict resolution training, policies and strategies; and reviewing and ensuring effective, fair and equitable hiring, retention and promotional opportunities, processes and practices.
The plan is intended to be a “living document” and will require revisions as work progresses.
Preliminary objectives and initiatives have been developed for each goal through a collaboration among Bowers, FRD senior staff, topic-specific workgroups and an Executive Review Committee including Fairfax County Executive Ed Long and Deputy County Executive for Public Safety Dave Rohrer along with representatives from various county agencies including Human Resources, Human Rights and Equity Programs and the County Attorney’s Office.