Senate Bill No. 440
(By Senators Sypolt, Barnes, Hall and Nohe)
[Introduced January 27, 2012; referred to the Committee on Government Organization; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §8-15-11 and §8-15-22 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to reinstating former fire chiefs to previously held positions of a paid fire department following an expired term as chief; and providing for appointment of deputy chiefs of fire departments.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §8-15-11 and §8-15-22 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 15. FIRE FIGHTING; FIRE COMPANIES AND DEPARTMENTS; CIVIL SERVICE FOR PAID FIRE DEPARTMENTS.
§8-15-11. Qualifications for appointment or promotion to positions in paid fire departments to be ascertained by examination; provisions exclusive as to appointments, etc.; rights of certain chiefs; “appointing officer" defined.
(a) All appointments and promotions to all positions in all paid fire departments shall be made only according to qualifications and fitness to be ascertained by examinations, which, so far as practicable, shall be competitive, as hereinafter provided.
(b) No individual, except the chief or deputy chief, if the position of deputy chief has been previously created by city council of that city, may be appointed, promoted, reinstated, removed, discharged, suspended or reduced in rank or pay as a paid member of any paid fire department, regardless of rank or position, in any manner or by any means other than those prescribed in this article: Provided, That in all municipalities in which the office of fire chief of a paid fire department was not covered by the provisions of former article six-a of this chapter on January 1, 1949, the office in the municipality shall be excepted from the civil service provisions of article fifteen of this chapter, until the time the governing body of the municipality shall, by appropriate ordinance or resolution adopted by a majority of its members, elect to place the office of fire chief and deputy chief under the civil service provisions of this article.
(c) Until the office of fire chief and deputy chief is placed under the civil service provisions of this article by the governing body, the member of any paid fire department now occupying such office or hereafter appointed to such office shall in all cases of removal, except for removal for good cause, retain the status he or she held in the paid fire department at the time of his or her appointment to the office of fire chief or deputy chief or which he or she attained during his or her term as fire chief or deputy chief.
(d) The term "appointing officer" as used in this article shall mean the municipal officer in whom the power of appointment of members of a paid fire department is vested by charter provision or ordinance of the municipality.
§8-15-22. Vacancies filled by promotions; eligibility for promotion.
Vacancies in positions in a paid fire department shall be filled, so far as practicable, by promotions from among individuals holding positions in the next lower grade in the department. Promotions shall be based upon experience and by competitive written examinations to be provided by the firemen's civil service commission: Provided, That except for the chief or deputy chief, if the position of deputy chief has been previously created by city council of that city, no individual shall be eligible for promotion from the lower grade to the next higher grade until such individual shall have completed at least two years of continuous service in the next lower grade in the department immediately prior to said examination and has completed the registered apprenticeship and certification program under article fifteen-a, chapter eight of this code: Provided, however, That completion of the registered apprenticeship and certification program as a requirement for promotion shall apply only to those firefighters employed since June 12, 1987. The commission shall have the power to determine in each instance whether an increase in salary constitutes a promotion.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to permit the reinstatement of former fire chiefs to previously held positions of a paid fire department following an expired term as chief. The bill provides for appointment of deputy chiefs of fire departments.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.