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John Nayduk
Senior Member
Username: John_nayduk

Post Number: 66
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2011 - 05:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here’s a topic for discussion; have we “fixed” something that wasn’t broken? Let me explain. Once upon a time we had many more ranks and positions in St John Ambulance than we do now. These ranks were there for a reason. And I wonder why we don’t need them now.
Historically, these ranks were the same as those used in the military, particularly the army. The system of stars (more accurately called “pips”) and crowns are taken from the army and were used throughout the Commonwealth. This is understandable as during the Second World War, there were over 1 million Canadians serving their country in the military. The rank system was something that they were familiar with and the report lines and responsibilities made sense to them. After all, that system won two World Wars (and I might say, is still working well in today’s war) surely it could run a volunteer organization like St John Ambulance. As time went on, fewer and fewer people remained in the organization that understood how things worked. Those that came after decided to fix the system and alter it into something that they understood, more of a management model. The decision was made to eliminate ranks and positions like the Corps Superintendent and the Corps structure is one that may have been made that should be rethought. Now that we are going back to having a Provincial Commissioner, perhaps we should also visit reinstating the Corps structure, as it will be in London. This would give the volunteer community service units a single person to report to who would represent them on the Branch Board who, unlike the Community Services Chair, would actually have spent time covering events and attending meeting nights with the C/S units. A person who knows and understands the day to day operation of the units as opposed to a board member who has never put on the uniform and rendered first aid at an event. The Corps Superintendent should also report to the Provincial Commissioner (unless a Regional Commissioner is developed). I also wonder if the Provincial Commissioner shouldn’t have an equal seat on the Provincial Management Team instead of reporting to them. This would ensure that the concerns of the volunteers in uniform are brought to the highest level. This would also provide a series of checks and balances. There would be a way to get concerns involving the operation of a branch to the PMT, without having to deal with the branch itself, using an established chain of command. Perhaps this could have prevented some of the serious situations that are plaguing us right now. I believe that there are quite a few uniformed volunteers in Ontario as compared to non-uniformed volunteers and paid staff yet it doesn’t appear that the uniformed members are getting heard when important decisions that affect us are being made. Maybe it’s time that the uniformed volunteers get to be heard through a Corps staff that can bring those grass roots concerns forward through their Regional Commissioner to the Provincial Commissioner and into the PMT.
Perhaps we should take a look at how the British are organized and realign ourselves with our founding organization. It’s still working for them, perhaps it’ll work for us.
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Richard Ball
Senior Member
Username: Rick

Post Number: 49
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, December 23, 2011 - 03:08 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi John
John I agree that we have taken a few steps backwards over the last few years.
I'm not convinced the Corps system the solution though.
Reintroducing the Regional/District staff to me would be a more logical step. These were made up of uniformed members which functioned as the next level above the community service units on the uniformed side.
As before the Regional/District should fall on step below Provincial Commissioner's level.
This would give the uniformed volunteer's a chain of command upward.
With the exception of London the Corps level has not been used for many years and when it was used in London it was subordinate to the Regional/District level.
IMO the reason for the recent (few years ago) demise of the Provincial Commissioner & Regional/District levels was simply money. These staff although volunteers still required funding for travel, uniforms, Provincial/District meetings ect.
Again IMO some bean counters who are not part of the uniformed organization seen a quick savings to St. John Ambulance by removing these levels.
The fallout has been detrimental to some community service units as the next level for guidance & yes supervision has been missing.

(Message edited by Rick on December 23, 2011)
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Richard Ball
Senior Member
Username: Rick

Post Number: 50
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, December 23, 2011 - 03:37 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

John
As for uniformed representation on the local branch's this varies from branch to branch.
Over the years from what I've seen those branch's which incorporate some of the uniformed members as members of the branch are the ones which function better in respect to the branch/community service interactions.
Although unusual the branch I'm on actually is mostly serving uniformed members with a few members from the local community. We are actually hoping to get a few more members of the community on the branch to diversify our group and bring in some outside viewpoints and idea's.

Best Wishes: Rick
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John Nayduk
Senior Member
Username: John_nayduk

Post Number: 67
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 24, 2011 - 10:56 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Rick, I agree that we need uniformed representation at the highest levels but I still think that the corps example would be the most cost effective, no travel expenses as each corps superintendent would operate within his or her own area with no need to do much traveling. With email and the telephone, communicating with the Provincial Commissioner would be easy and cost little. We need a uniformed volunteer with experience in the field to look the uniformed volunteers and I hope that the powers that be give the new Provincial Commissioner the teeth to do the job right and not make it a position for a yes man who will not rock the boat when it needs to be rocked.
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Richard Ball
Senior Member
Username: Rick

Post Number: 51
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2011 - 10:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

John although I agree with most of your points I still believe a Corps example is un-workable for a few reasons.
1. Being a smaller sub-unit than a District/Regional than there would be more different direct chains to the Provincial Commissioner. With the former District/Regional set-up there was 9 different zones. What now double or triple that?
2. How would you draw-up the Corps boundaries to be "the most cost effective, no travel expenses as each corps superintendent would operate within his or her own area with no need to do much traveling".
In your area what would your Corps include?
Just Windsor? Than no more a local division already there.
Up to & including London? Than not very different than the former District/Region.
To be a larger unit than the sub-units (local Divisions) there would need to be more than 2 or three Divisions to be feasible. Now were back to the Old District/Regional system again.
When you add Northern Ontario into the mix then it gets for more complicated.
3. Far easier to re-implement what we have already used recently than re-invent the wheel.
In St. John we have not used the Corps system in Ontario in very many years at the very least.
London being the only exception and as such it was not a system used but a local exception only.

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