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The Risk Of "No Bid" & Instructions For Filling Out A Watch Selection Form

Originally Posted on November 16, 2016

This article will assist officers in the art of selecting a watch for the 2017 calendar year. The selection process continues to be problematic for some members in understanding the No Bid selection. There are indeed risks involved in placing a No Bid on your selection form. Please Read the Department Notice titled Annual Watch, Furlough Selections, Vacation Schedules and 2017 Operational Calendar, prior to completing your watch selection form.

Over the years, there have been a number of officers who decided to place a No Bid hoping their Commander would take care of them and assign them under the Department’s percentage to a desirable watch. In some cases the old saying, ‘Promises are made to be broken’ rang true. Looking forward to the 2017 selection process, all officers should be cautious in placing a No Bid selection because they will be at the mercy of the Department. In essence you have opted out of the selection process and are telling the Department they may place you wherever they choose. There are no guarantees to a No Bid selection. There is a guarantee when your watch is selection by seniority. For example: a less senior officer who may have wanted and had been promised 2nd watch thought he/she would be given the 2nd watch assignment if a No Bid was selected ends up on midnights but could have achieved a more desirable 3rd watch assignment by seniority if only his /her 2nd choice had not been a No Bid selection, but rather, 3rd watch.

The Department will soon release a listing of how many positions will be filled by 80% seniority and how many positions will be filled by the 20% Department’s discretionary assignment. This will be posted for each watch. Taking a look at the number of positions and where you sit on the seniority roster can give you a good idea on what watches you can select by seniority. We caution you that if you place a No Bid as your second choice, you should have received some prior assurance from the Commander that he/she will use his/her 20% to place you. You should also understand the risk of the No Bid and how it will influence you.

If you have any questions regarding the risk of No Bid please check with your Watch or Unit Representative. If further information is needed, please contact the Lodge at 312-733-7776 and ask for Kevin Kilmer.


On a Watch Selection form, you have four choices that can be made: 1st Watch; 2nd Watch; 3rd Watch; and No Bid. Although , as stated above, there are risks of placing a No Bid choice, it does remain a choice for you to make.

Officers should make their choices by prioritizing the watches, with the most desirable watch being designated as your first choice, followed by your next desirable selection, etc. Officers should complete all four choices, but may not select the same watch for all four choices. Submitting a selection form in which all four choices indicate the 2nd watch is not only the wrong way to fill out the form but if you don’t have enough seniority to achieve a 2nd Watch seniority assignment you have just opted out of the selection process and will be placed on a watch designated by the Department. Use each selection once and only once, ie: 1st, 2nd, 3rd and No Bid.

Here are a few examples and scenarios which I hope will assist you in deciding how to use the No Bid choice. The Lodge is recommending that you use the slots, which are effectively empty, after your No Bid choice to indicate to your Commander what your preferred watch is.

EXAMPLE #1: I am an officer who, although I do not have enough seniority to get on the 2nd watch, am confident (really, really confident) that the Commander will use the Department’s 20% to place me on the 2nd Watch. I made out my form:

1st Choice: 2nd Watch 2nd Choice: No Bid 3rd Choice: 3rd Watch 4th Choice: 1st Watch

EXAMPLE #2: I am an officer who, although I do not have enough seniority to get on the 2nd or 3rd Watch, am desperately trying to avoid the midnights and all I can do is hope and pray the Commander may use his/her 20% on me, but I can at least indicate to him/her my preferences . I made out my form:

1st Choice: 2nd Watch
2nd Choice: 3rd Watch
3rd Choice: No Bid
4th Choice: 1st Watch

EXAMPLE #3: I am an officer who knows positively that the Commander is not going to use his/her 20% on ME. I made out my form:

1st Choice: 2nd Watch
2nd Choice: 3rd Watch
3rd Choice: 1st Watch
4th Choice: No Bid

Officers, think wisely before submitting your Watch selection form as your decision may be with you for the full year, also use each choice selection (1st w, 2nd w, 3rd w, or no bid) only once. Using any of them twice will not get you that selection.


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