Contact Information for Kevin S. Gordon
What's at Stake? On April 21, the Western Association of Fire Fighters will elect a Regional Director to the North Carolina State Firemen's Association. This meeting will be hosted by the Shelby Fire-Rescue Department. Excerpt from the Bylaws - Section 4.3 Regional Directors: Each of the Eastern Association (Membership District No. 3), the Piedmont Association (Membership District No. 2), and the Western Association (Membership District No. 1) annually shall elect a Regional Director to serve as an officer and Executive Board member of the Association.
Why do I feel I am the best Candidate for this position? Throughout my fire service career I have always strived to be a leader in the truest sense. I have become a student of leadership in the hopes of developing my own effective style of leading others. I always strive to not only improve my personal capabilities, but that of my subordinates and the organizations I serve. I continue to spend countless efforts mentoring those around me. I have learned a tremendous amount over the years by watching others. I have seen what styles work and, more importantly, which styles do not work. I capitalized on my own mistakes and those of others. No lesson is better learned than those learned the hard way, from costly mistakes. I am, and I promise character, competence, and commitment. I believe these attributes are the most important in a leader and they encapsulate the image of leadership. To me, character is the most important of these three attributes. I would describe character as integrity, loyalty, guts, and maturity. Character involves doing what is right when no one is looking, remaining loyal to both those above and below you, and most importantly always being honest. Egos and personal agendas have no place in public service. Achieving the assigned task and fulfilling the mission of the Association is of ultimate importance, and certainly not receiving personal recognition. There is no substitution for the ability to perform. Competent leaders have the ability to see the full view of any situation and, with great frequency, can deliver the right outcome at the right time. Competence as a leader is having all the tools for whatever the occasion and knowing when to use each tool. Competence doesnâ€™t come from a college degree and it doesnâ€™t come from watching the actions of others. Competence is earned through experience. Throughout my volunteer service as Fire Chief of the Waco Community Volunteer Fire Department and career as a Battalion Chief with the Charlotte Fire Department, I have developed the skills to become a competent leader. I am willing to make hard decisions, have the confidence to stay with the vision, and the ability to excel even in the darkest times.
Commitment is being a professional everyone can count on, no matter the circumstance. I have learned there are times when commitment is the only thing that will carry you forward. I have dedicated my life to the fire service, served my career as a firefighter, and held offices elected by fellow firefighters. The ability to conjure the support and trust of firefighters, I believe, displays my aptitude to lead others in achieving great organizational accomplishments. I will lead from the front, exceed the standards, and will remain 100% committed to the mission of the Association 100% of the time. I do what I do because of who I am. I believe I am well suited to serve as the Western Director.
Issues Facing the Fire Service of North Carolina • Long-term benefit plans for firefighters serving in incorporated agencies −
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Much has been written about this issue since non-profit fire departments began hiring paid personnel in the 1990's. Originally the employees were allowed in the Local Government Employees Retirement System (LGERS). Later it was determined this was not allowed under the plan and jeopardized the tax qualification of LGERS. This was an IRS ruling and it is not likely to change. The LGERS is governed by the NC Treasurer and changes cannot be made by NCSFA. Any retirement plan must be tax qualified. If they are tax qualified then the plan receives tax favors. This is a key attribute because contributions are pre-taxed and investments are not taxable. Equality in the NC Fire and Rescue Pension Fund for both paid and volunteer members. Currently, paid FFs must have a document separation from the fire service to receive benefits while volunteer FFs do not.
• Expected changes in tuition exemption status by the NC Dept. of Community College − − − −
Public safety agencies in NC are granted a fee/tuition exemption for classes delivered by the NC Department of Community Colleges. This fee/tuition exemption was almost eliminated during the state budget process of 2009. This fee/tuition exemption is authorized by NCGS 115D; Article 5 and further defined in NC Administrative Code, Title 23, Chapter 02 and 03. Rest assured this issue is not dead and will likely become part of the state budget process when NC Legislatures return to Raleigh on May 20. There is already a possibility of a 5-6% reversion of the state budget. Furthermore, the NC Department of Community Colleges is looking at an internal policy to tighten the stipulation for allowing these waivers. Any change will affect the fire and rescue service of North Carolina.
• Firefighters need additional ways to acquire certification training − − −
Training should account for local needs and time requirements should reflect class size. All standards based training in North Carolina is prescribed training. Meaning each course participant, regardless of local risk, must meet the same objectives. Also each course must meet the predetermined number of hours as determined by NC Department of Community Colleges. For example, a PPE class with 10 students must meet the same number of hours as a PPE class with 30 students. There is no way students in the above description would receive the same quality of instruction. Under the current system, all certification courses have to be administrated through a Delivery Agency. Currently Delivery Agencies are local Community Colleges or Fire Departments who have met defined standards. Fire and Rescue agencies in North Carolina need expanded options for delivering certification courses. Especially with the fee/tuition exemption issue looming on the horizon. Indoctrinate fire and rescue agencies in the features and benefits of "outcome based training" or "trainingin-context". These concepts would take advantage of available time and resources to focus on the needs of the department instead of prescribed training. Tuition cost would be $65 for 0-24hrs, $120 for 25-50 hrs, and $175 for 50 plus hrs. It would cost $1,750 per fire fighter for a combined FF1/2 certification program.
• Complete state-wide resource typing and personnel credentialing to enhance intrastate mutual aid − − −
Intrastate Mutual Aid System (IMAS) plan is essentially ready and now it is imperative we get the resources typed and qualified personnel credentialed for the plan to be fully functional. IMAS provides Community to Community and Community to State resources. IMAS is designed to solve the problem of a lack of resources. This is done by identifying who has the needed resources, location of the needed available resources, where available resources need to go, how to get the resources there quickly, and supply/demand are organized/communicated to ensure efficient use. Now the work begins as typing resources and personnel credentialing must occur (based on the NIMS standard) to identify available resources across North Carolina.
• Lobby for a fire service friendly solutions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) −
In 1985, Congress amended FLSA to ensure that true volunteer activities were not impeded or discouraged while minimizing the risk that the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements were being abused by employers. In those amendments, Congress made clear that a volunteer may receive “no compensation,” but may be paid “expenses, reasonable benefits, or a nominal fee.” There is no exclusion in the FLSA for private non-profit organizations. Employees of non-profit organizations are individually covered under the FLSA if, in the performance of their duties, they are engaged in interstate commerce or in the production of goods or materials for interstate commerce (Opinion Letter FLSA2004-15). Employees would be covered by the FLSA as they respond to emergencies on state roads and interstate highways over which commerce between the states flows, and thus help remove obstructions so as to enable commerce to move freely. This fact satisfies the “interstate commerce” prerequisite for FLSA jurisdiction (Opinion Letter FLSA2004-15). Legal fiction - a fact or situation assumed or created by courts or other regulatory which is then used to benefit a legal rule which was not necessarily designed to be used in such way. I have spoken to some within US Department of Labor and addition lawyers who believe the "interstate commerce" prerequisite for FLSA coverage is a legal fiction.
• NCSFA membership roster renewals and membership dues to Regional Association −
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At the October 2009 meeting of the Western NC Association of Fire Fighters a slide was displayed with the following statements: increase membership by attending County Association meetings, identify the County Association meetings and divide counties with Officers, and a WNCAFF Officer will attend at least one meeting in every county. The NCSFA has joined with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) to offer members of each Department additional benefits. This is a great idea and I, too, believe this is an excellent recruitment and retention tool. We need a similar approach to aid the Regional Associations. Simply add an option to the annual membership roster renewals for each Department to join or maintain their dues to the Regional Associations. Let's make it convenient for the Fire Departments and the Fire Chiefs.
Local Involvement 1988 - 1989 1990 - 1991 1992 - 1994 1995 - 1997 2006 - 2007 2008 - 2009
President - Cleveland County Training Officer Association Vice-President - Cleveland County Fire Fighter's Association President - Cleveland County Fire Fighter's Association EMS and Rescue Quality of Service Committee; Region C Council of Government Vice-President - Cleveland County Fire Fighter's Association President - Cleveland County Fire Fighter's Association
2003 - Present 2003 - Present 2007 - Present
Cleveland County Rural Fire Commission Trustee - Charlotte Fire Fighter's Retirement System 800 MHz Radio / Communication Committee
State Involvement Currently serving on the NC Fire and Rescue Commission's Certification Board. Currently serving on the Intrastate Mutual Aid System Task Force (IMAS). This Task Force began work in 2007 and developed the Emergency Response Plan for the NC Association of Fire Chiefs. Currently serving on the Domestic Preparedness Regional Committee for Region 7. This region includes the following counties: Catawba, Lincoln, Cleveland, Gaston, Mecklenburg, Iredell, Rowan, Cabarrus, Stanley, and Union. Served on the Hazardous Materials Sub-Committee from 2001 - 2008. Currently serving on the Fire Officer Sub-Committee. Assisted NC OSFM with the re-write of the Haz-Mat Technician program in 2003. Currently serving on the Technical Rescuer Validation Committee. The Validation Committee has completed extensive work since the summer of 2008 on the re-write of the rescue programs to NFPA 1006 - 2008 Edition. Served on the joint workgroup of the Educational Methodology and Fire Officer Committees who researched and proposed the changes to the Fire Instructor program. This group also researched and presented the need for a Fire Instructor I level of certification. This was much needed to clear the obstacles from the Fire Officer Certification program. Currently serving on the Fire Instructor Validation Committee. The Validation Committee has been working on creating the new Fire Instructor I curriculum. Currently serving on the Chief Officers Executive Development Program Advisory Committee for the NC Association of Fire Chiefs. Currently serving as a member of the Incident Management Team for NCEM-Western Branch Office. Currently serving as a Task Force Leader for North Carolina USAR Task Force 3; Charlotte Fire Department. Area 7 Director - NC Association of Rescue and EMS. Standards and Training Committee - NC Association of Rescue and EMS. Legislative Committee - NC Association of Rescue and EMS.
National Involvement Served as a Peer Reviewer for the Assistance to Fire Fighters Grant Program. Served on the IAFC Committee in the development and validation of the IAFC document "Terrorism Response - A checklist and guide for Fire Chiefs". Served as a member of the pilot program with the Emergency Management Institute. This group researched and tested data transfer of employee training records from the FEMA Independent Study Program. Served on the Development Team of IAFF/IAFC Candidate Physical Agility Test. Participated in a study from the United States Governmental Accountability Office. This study produced a report for the Congressional Committees with oversight of the Fire Act Grant. The report attempted to answer the following question: "Has FEMA met the requirements for awarding Fire Grants?"
Education 2009: Chief Fire Officer Designation - CPSE 2005: National Fire Academy - Executive Fire Officer Program 2000: University of Maryland; Fire Science, B.S. 1997: Central Piedmont Community College; Fire Protection Technology, A.A.S.