§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 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 the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred forty-nine, 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 under the civil service provisions of this article.

(c) Until the office of fire 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 which he or she attained during his or her term as fire 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.