The easy solution, that would have been a lot less work for the board and carried little risk of criticism from the membership would have been to leave our structure the way we were used to, accept the limitations that came with it, and leave the problems for the next board. After all, it was what we were used to and while some would wonder why we haven’t been exploring options, for the most part it would be business as usual. As a board of representatives who are elected to serve the membership it falls with us to be certain that we are guiding our organization in the best direction given the needs and challenges of the day , even if that does mean taking on extra work. It is also our collective belief that as difficult as this task may be, you deserve to have an organization that delivers quality services and effective advocacy in the most cost responsible manner to the membership.
While the review of our operations is on-going some substantial costs saving measures have been taken. We set up a temporary office with our executive director eliminating the expense of his travel to Gander. This move also saves us from the requirement of a long term lease commitment and the monthly expenses that come with a storefront type of office, as 95% of our business is done long distance, no real difference in service will be experienced by the membership and we have the flexibility of not limiting ourselves when it comes to where we can operate from. As we move forward with our strategic planning we will also be looking at where we can most effectively operate from taking into consideration the goals of increased advocacy, partnership development, sponsorship opportunities and other considerations such as travel cost for staff.
As for the staffing of our association office we have been looking at and debating how our structure should be set up to meet our goals. We still have work to complete and we are going in the direction of having a full time office person who can perform administration duties, manage our website, complete the fire news in house and work on projects that would see us improve our communications and increase sponsorship. This plan may also require some part time support with administration duties such as ensuring our phone can be answered at all times as well as other tasks, however this will be monitored to see what fits best.
I want to make it very clear that this assessment of our structure has not interfered with our ability to continue with our work. While our board members have had to take additional responsibilities we are not only keeping our operation flowing, we have seen some tremendous work getting done in areas such as CISM, Autism awareness training for first responders, Gas Detection for Fire Fighters, Fire Prevention and regional alignment.
NL Association of Fire Services