A VETERAN CFA firefighter says members of the volunteer brigade "feel quite rudderless" about the future of their organisation.
Garry Nash, the Wangaratta deputy group officer, said the resignation last week of CFA chief executive Steve Warrington had been unnerving.
"That shows there's something untoward happening in the hierarchy," Mr Nash said.
From then, the CFA will officially be a volunteer-only service, with professional firefighters part of the newly-created Fire Rescue Victoria based at stations such as Wodonga and Wangaratta.
Mr Nash said his peak body Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria, which represents unpaid firefighters, had accepted the changes on the promise of consultation around how the fresh structure would work.
Instead he believes an "almost autocratic" approach is being taken.
"The greatest worry is the command situation," Mr Nash said.
"Have we got a good conduit back up the chain, when it goes to a commanding officer are they being listened to by the board and the government?
"At this stage it doesn't appear so."
Mr Nash said there had been an information vacuum and that career firefighters felt hamstrung in assisting because "if they speak out they'll get shunned".
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He said there was concern over how fire management aspects, such as speaking to the media, would operate under the new structure rather than worry over the practical side of the job.
"We just need clarity of what the expectation is, what the mission is, what they're aiming for in the future," Mr Nash said.
A first lieutenant with the South Wangaratta brigade, Mr Nash been a CFA volunteer for more than 40 years and followed his father and grandfather into the service.
Asked if the issues surrounding the new structure and the revamped CFA would prompt volunteers to leave, Mr Nash said they would make their own decisions but added they could do other things "where they're more appreciated".
"It's a really critical decision and I would hope many of us pass on to groups that they are definitely needed and we appreciate the work they do, even if the government and those higher up don't think it's worthwhile for them to be consulted with," Mr Nash said.
Under the parliamentary act for the new set-up, the CFA and Fire Rescue Victoria have to show how they have adapted to the fresh model.
They will need to report four times a year to an "implementation monitor" who will publish a report online.