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  • Civil Service

    CIVIL SERVICE AS DEFINED BY WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY: THE ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICE OF A GOVERNMENT OR INTERNATIONAL AGENCY EXCLUSIVE OF THE ARMED FORCES; ESPECIALLY ONE IN WHICH APPOINTMENTS ARE DETERMINED BY COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION.

    CIVIL SERVICE AS IT APPLIES TO THE FIRE SERVICE

    WHAT IS CIVIL SERVICE? – CIVIL SERVICE IS A STATUTORY PROCESS, CREATED BY THE LEGISLATURE, FOR THE HIRING, PROMOTING AND DISCIPLINE OF FIRE FIGHTERS.  THE STATUTE OUTLINES MINIMUM MANAGEMENT STANDARDS WHICH MAY BE ADOPTED BY REFERENDUM.  ONCE ADOPTED, THE CITY, IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE STATUTE, MAY CREATE A MORE STRINGENT, YET COMPLIMENTARY PROCESS OF MANAGEMENT. AFTER ADOPTION, IF THE CITIZENS ARE INCLINED, CIVIL SERVICE MAY BE REPEALED BY A REFERENDUM AFTER AT LEAST ONE YEAR OF OPERATION. CIVIL SERVICE STATUTES CAN BE FOUND IN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE, CHAPTER 143

    WHY CIVIL SERVICE? – THE CIVIL SERVICE MANAGEMENT STANDARDS WERE DEVELOPED TO CREATE A CONSISTENT, PREDICTABLE PROCESS FOR HIRING, PROMOTIONS AND DISCIPLINE FOR FIRE FIGHTERS. THE NEED AROSE BECAUSE FIRE FIGHTERS OFTEN FELL VICTIM TO CRONYISM AND ARBITRARY MANAGEMENT PRACTICES CAUSED BY CHANGING POLITICAL AGENDAS. THE RESOLUTION CAME IN THE FORM OF STATUTORY, PROFESSIONAL MANAGEMENT STANDARDS.  TODAY, MOST FIRE FIGHTERS SEEK CIVIL SERVICE FOR THE FAIR AND EQUITABLE STANDARDS THAT WERE ORIGINALLY CREATED TO DETER POOR MANAGEMENT PRACTICES.  ALTHOUGH THE CIVIL SERVICE PROCESS IS SOUGHT PRIMARILY FOR THE PROFESSIONAL WORKING ENVIRONMENT IT SUSTAINS, IT CONTINUES TO RESOLVE THE CAUSE OF ITS CREATION.

    HOW DOES CIVIL SERVICE WORK? - ONCE APPROVED BY THE VOTERS, THE CITY WILL ADOPT THE STATUTORY STANDARDS AND THEN APPOINT A THREE MEMBER CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION.  THE COMMISSION MEMBERS ARE NOT COMPENSATED FOR THEIR COMMISSION DUTIES.  THE COMMISSION WILL PRIMARILY DEAL WITH DISCIPLINARY ISSUES.  THE CIVIL SERVICE PROCESS ALSO ALLOWS FOR AN INDEPENDENT HEARING EXAMINER IN SOME CASES. ARBITRATION IS RARELY USED BUT WHEN IT IS SELECTED, THE COST IS SPLIT BETWEEN BOTH PARTIES INVOLVED.

    WHO BENEFITS FROM CIVIL SERVICE? - THE CITIZENS WILL BENEFIT BY HAVING A MORE DESIRABLE WORKING ENVIRONMENT FOR FIRE FIGHTERS THAT ATTRACTS THE HIGHEST QUALITY CANDIDATE TO FILL POSITIONS THAT BECOME AVAILABLE WITHIN THE DEPARTMENTS.  CITIZENS WILL AGAIN BENEFIT BY RETAINING THE SEASONED AND TRAINED PROFESSIONALS IT DEDICATED MANY HOURS AND TRAINING DOLLARS TO DEVELOP.  EXPECTATIONS OF FIRE FIGHTERS IS VERY HIGH, CIVIL SERVICE IS A TOOL THAT HELPS THE DEPARTMENTS CONTINUE TO MEET THOSE EXPECTATIONS WELL INTO THE FUTURE. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT UNLIKE MOST EMPLOYEES, FIRE FIGHTERS CANNOT STRIKE AND THEY CANNOT MOVE FROM JOB TO JOB IN A LATERAL FASHION.  IN OTHER WORDS, WHEN A FIRE FIGHTER CHANGES DEPARTMENTS, NO MATTER THEIR SENIORITY OR EXPERIENCE, THEY MUST START AT THE BOTTOM, POSSIBLY WHERE THEY STARTED THEIR CAREER YEARS EARLIER. THIS CREATES A UNIQUE TIE TO THE COMMUNITY AND THE JOB. THE FIRE FIGHTERS WILL BENEFIT BY HAVING AN ENCOURAGING AND PREDICTABLE SYSTEM BY WHICH THEY MAY PURSUE A PROFESSIONAL CAREER SERVING THE COMMUNITY.

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    CIVIL SERVICE SUMMARIZED

    GENERAL PROVISIONS

    PURPOSE  

    • THE PURPOSE OF THIS CHAPTER IS TO SECURE EFFICIENT FIRE DEPARTMENTS COMPOSED OF CAPABLE PERSONNEL WHO ARE FREE FROM POLITICAL INFLUENCE AND WHO HAVE PERMANENT EMPLOYMENT TENURE AS PUBLIC SERVANTS.
    • THE MEMBERS OF THE FIRE FIGHTERS' CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION SHALL ADMINISTER THIS CHAPTER IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS PURPOSE.

    ELECTION TO ADOPT OR REPEAL CHAPTER

    • A PETITION FOR A SUBSEQUENT ELECTION MUST CONTAIN THE SIGNATURES OF A NUMBER OF QUALIFIED VOTERS OF THE MUNICIPALITY EQUAL TO AT LEAST 20 PERCENT OF THE NUMBER OF VOTERS WHO VOTED IN THE MOST RECENT MUNICIPAL ELECTION.
    • IF THE GOVERNING BODY OF A MUNICIPALITY THAT HAS OPERATED UNDER THIS CHAPTER FOR AT LEAST ONE YEAR RECEIVES A PETITION REQUESTING AN ELECTION TO REPEAL THIS CHAPTER THAT IS SIGNED BY AT LEAST 10 PERCENT OF THE QUALIFIED VOTERS OF THE MUNICIPALITY, THE GOVERNING BODY SHALL ORDER AN ELECTION SUBMITTING TO THE VOTERS THE QUESTION ON WHETHER THIS CHAPTER SHOULD BE REPEALED.

    IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

    • THE CITY MANAGER APPOINTS 3 CITIZENS, AND CITY COUNCIL APPROVES
    • COMMISSION MEMBERS SERVE STAGGERED 3 YEAR TERMS
    • THE CITY MUST PROVIDE ADEQUATE AND SUITABLE OFFICE SPACE
    • COMMISSION APPOINTS A DIRECTOR (SECRETARY OF COMMISSION)
      • USUALLY AN EMPLOYEE FROM HUMAN RESOURCES

    ADOPTION AND PUBLICATION OF RULES

    • THE COMMISSION SHALL ADOPT RULES IN ACCORDANCE WITH CIVIL SERVICE
      • THESE RULES CONSIST OF:
        • PROPER CONDUCT OF COMMISSION BUSINESS
        • CAUSE FOR REMOVAL OR SUSPENSION OF FIRE FIGHTERS
        • ENTRANCE EXAMINATIONS, PROMOTIONAL EXAMINATIONS
        • SICK, VACATION, AND INJURY LEAVE
        • LEAVE OF ABSENCE AND MILITARY LEAVE OF ABSENCE
        • DETERMINATION OF PHYSICAL AND MENTAL FITNESS
        • COMMISSION MUST PUBLISH EACH RULE IT ADOPTS, EACH CLASSIFICATION, AND SENIORITY LIST FOR THE DEPARTMENT. (EX. FF, LT., BC)

    COMMISSION INVESTIGATIONS AND INSPECTIONS

    • MAY INVESTIGATE AND REPORT ON MATTERS INVOLVING ENFORCEMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE
      • HAVE AUTHORITY TO ADMINISTER OATHS AND ISSUE SUBPOENAS

    COMMISSION APPEAL PROCEDURE

    • FIRE FIGHTERS MAY APPEAL TO THE COMMISSION
      • REASONS FOR APPEAL
        • DEVIATION OF PRESCRIBED RULES SET UP BY THE COMMISSION IN ACCORDANCE WITH CIVIL SERVICE LAW INCLUDING:
          • ENTRY EXAMS, PROMOTIONAL EXAMS, SUSPENSIONS, DEMOTIONS, AND PROMOTIONAL BYPASS
          • THE COMMISSION’S DECISION MAY BE APPEALED TO DISTRICT COURT
    • ALTERNATIVELY, FIRE FIGHTERS MAY OPT TO APPEAL TO A HEARING EXAMINER
      • THIRD PARTY ARBITRATION INSTEAD OF THE COMMISSION RULING
      • ARBITRATOR’S DECISION IS BINDING AND CANNOT BE APPEALED TO DISTRICT COURT

    CLASSIFICATION AND APPOINTMENT

    ENTRANCE EXAMINATIONS

    • AN ELIGIBILITY LIST FOR A BEGINNING POSITION IN THE FIRE DEPARTMENT MAY BE CREATED ONLY AS A RESULT OF A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION.
    • THE EXAMINATION MUST BE BASED ON THE PERSON'S GENERAL KNOWLEDGE AND APTITUDE AND MUST INQUIRE INTO THE APPLICANT'S GENERAL EDUCATION AND MENTAL ABILITY.
    • A PERSON MAY NOT BE APPOINTED TO THE FIRE DEPARTMENT EXCEPT AS A RESULT OF THE EXAMINATION.
    • AN ADDITIONAL FIVE POINTS SHALL BE ADDED TO THE EXAMINATION GRADE OF AN APPLICANT WHO SERVED IN THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES, RECEIVED AN HONORABLE DISCHARGE, AND MADE A PASSING GRADE ON THE EXAMINATION.
    • THE COMMISSION SHALL KEEP EACH ELIGIBILITY LIST FOR A BEGINNING POSITION IN EFFECT FOR A PERIOD OF NOT LESS THAN SIX MONTHS OR MORE THAN 12 MONTHS.
    • EACH APPLICANT WHO IS EITHER A NATURAL-BORN OR ADOPTED CHILD OF A FIRE FIGHTER WHO PREVIOUSLY SUFFERED A LINE-OF-DUTY DEATH WHILE COVERED BY THIS CHAPTER SHALL BE RANKED AT THE TOP OF ANY ELIGIBILITY LIST IN WHICH SAID APPLICANT RECEIVES A MINIMUM PASSING GRADE ON THAT RESPECTIVE ELIGIBILITY EXAM.

    PROCEDURE FOR FILLING BEGINNING POSITIONS

    • WHEN A VACANCY OCCURS IN A BEGINNING POSITION IN A FIRE DEPARTMENT, THE DEPARTMENT HEAD SHALL REQUEST IN WRITING FROM THE COMMISSION THE NAMES OF SUITABLE PERSONS FROM THE ELIGIBILITY LIST.
    • THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE SHALL APPOINT THE PERSON HAVING THE HIGHEST GRADE.

    PROBATIONARY PERIOD

    • A PERSON APPOINTED TO A BEGINNING POSITION IN THE FIRE DEPARTMENT MUST SERVE A PROBATIONARY PERIOD OF ONE YEAR BEGINNING ON THAT PERSON'S DATE OF EMPLOYMENT AS A FIRE FIGHTER.
    • A FIRE FIGHTER WHO WAS APPOINTED IN SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH THIS CHAPTER AND WHO SERVES THE ENTIRE PROBATIONARY PERIOD AUTOMATICALLY BECOMES A FULL-FLEDGED CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEE AND HAS FULL CIVIL SERVICE PROTECTION.

    ELIGIBILITY FOR PROMOTION

    • A FIRE FIGHTER IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR PROMOTION UNLESS THE PERSON HAS SERVED IN THAT FIRE DEPARTMENT IN THE NEXT LOWER POSITION OR OTHER POSITIONS SPECIFIED BY THE COMMISSION FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS.

    PROMOTIONAL EXAMINATION NOTICE

    • BEFORE THE 90TH DAY BEFORE THE DATE A PROMOTIONAL EXAMINATION IS HELD, THE COMMISSION SHALL POST A NOTICE THAT LISTS THE SOURCES FROM WHICH THE EXAMINATION QUESTIONS WILL BE TAKEN.
    • BEFORE THE 30TH DAY BEFORE THE DATE A PROMOTIONAL EXAMINATION IS HELD, THE COMMISSION SHALL POST A NOTICE OF THE EXAMINATION.

    PROMOTIONAL EXAMINATION PROCEDURE

    • EACH ELIGIBLE PROMOTIONAL CANDIDATE SHALL BE GIVEN AN IDENTICAL EXAMINATION.
    • THE EXAMINATION MUST BE ENTIRELY IN WRITING AND MAY NOT IN ANY PART CONSIST OF AN ORAL INTERVIEW.
    • THE EXAMINATION QUESTIONS MUST BE PREPARED AND COMPOSED SO THAT THE GRADING OF THE EXAMINATION CAN BE PROMPTLY COMPLETED IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE EXAMINATION IS OVER.

    PROMOTIONAL EXAMINATION GRADES

    • EACH FIRE FIGHTER IS ENTITLED TO RECEIVE ONE POINT FOR EACH YEAR OF SENIORITY IN THAT DEPARTMENT, WITH A MAXIMUM OF 10 POINTS.
    • ALL FIRE FIGHTER APPLICANTS WHO RECEIVE A GRADE ON THE WRITTEN EXAMINATION OF AT LEAST 70 POINTS SHALL BE DETERMINED TO HAVE PASSED THE EXAMINATION.
    • WITHIN 24 HOURS AFTER A PROMOTIONAL EXAMINATION IS HELD, THE COMMISSION SHALL POST THE INDIVIDUAL RAW TEST SCORES ON A BULLETIN BOARD LOCATED IN THE MAIN LOBBY OF THE CITY HALL.

    TEMPORARY DUTIES IN HIGHER CLASSIFICATION

    • THE DEPARTMENT HEAD MAY DESIGNATE A PERSON FROM THE NEXT LOWER CLASSIFICATION TO TEMPORARILY FILL A POSITION IN A HIGHER CLASSIFICATION.
    • THE DESIGNATED PERSON IS ENTITLED TO THE BASE SALARY OF THE HIGHER POSITION DURING THE TIME THE PERSON PERFORMS THE DUTIES.

    COMPENSATION

    SALARY

    • ALL FIRE FIGHTERS IN THE SAME CLASSIFICATION ARE ENTITLED TO THE SAME BASE SALARY.

    ACCUMULATION AND PAYMENT OF SICK LEAVE

    • A FIRE FIGHTER IS ALLOWED SICK LEAVE WITH PAY ACCUMULATED AT THE RATE OF 1-1/4 FULL WORKING DAYS FOR EACH FULL MONTH EMPLOYED IN A CALENDAR YEAR, SO AS TO TOTAL 15 WORKING DAYS TO A PERSON'S CREDIT EACH 12 MONTHS.
    • A FIRE FIGHTER MAY ACCUMULATE SICK LEAVE WITHOUT LIMIT.
    • A FIRE FIGHTER WHO LEAVES THE CLASSIFIED SERVICE FOR ANY REASON IS ENTITLED TO RECEIVE IN A LUMP-SUM PAYMENT THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE PERSON'S SALARY FOR ACCUMULATED SICK LEAVE IF THE PERSON HAS ACCUMULATED NOT MORE THAN 90 DAYS OF SICK LEAVE.

    VACATIONS

    • EACH FIRE FIGHTER IS ENTITLED TO EARN A MINIMUM OF 15 WORKING DAYS' VACATION LEAVE WITH PAY IN EACH YEAR.
    • UNLESS APPROVED BY THE MUNICIPALITY'S GOVERNING BODY, A FIRE FIGHTER MAY NOT ACCUMULATE VACATION LEAVE FROM YEAR TO YEAR.

    DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

    DISCIPLINARY SUSPENSIONS

    • THE HEAD OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT MAY SUSPEND A FIRE FIGHTER UNDER THE DEPARTMENT HEAD'S SUPERVISION OR JURISDICTION FOR THE VIOLATION OF A CIVIL SERVICE RULE.
    • IF THE DEPARTMENT HEAD SUSPENDS A FIRE FIGHTER, THE DEPARTMENT HEAD SHALL, WITHIN 120 HOURS AFTER THE HOUR OF SUSPENSION, FILE A WRITTEN STATEMENT WITH THE COMMISSION GIVING THE REASONS FOR THE SUSPENSION.
    • THE DEPARTMENT HEAD SHALL IMMEDIATELY DELIVER A COPY OF THE STATEMENT IN PERSON TO THE SUSPENDED FIRE FIGHTER.
    • THE COPY OF THE WRITTEN STATEMENT MUST INFORM THE SUSPENDED FIRE FIGHTER THAT IF THE PERSON WANTS TO APPEAL TO THE COMMISSION, THE PERSON MUST FILE A WRITTEN APPEAL WITH THE COMMISSION WITHIN 10 DAYS AFTER THE DATE THE PERSON RECEIVES THE COPY OF THE STATEMENT.

    CAUSE FOR REMOVAL OR SUSPENSION

    • A COMMISSION RULE PRESCRIBING CAUSE FOR REMOVAL OR SUSPENSION OF A FIRE FIGHTER OR POLICE OFFICER IS NOT VALID UNLESS IT INVOLVES ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING GROUNDS:
      • CONVICTION OF A FELONY OR OTHER CRIME INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE
      • VIOLATIONS OF A MUNICIPAL CHARTER PROVISION
      • ACTS OF INCOMPETENCY
      • NEGLECT OF DUTY
      • DISCOURTESY TO THE PUBLIC OR TO A FELLOW EMPLOYEE WHILE THE FIRE FIGHTER IS IN THE LINE OF DUTY
      • ACTS SHOWING LACK OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER
      • DRINKING INTOXICANTS WHILE ON DUTY OR INTOXICATION WHILE OFF DUTY
      • CONDUCT PREJUDICIAL TO GOOD ORDER
      • REFUSAL OR NEGLECT TO PAY JUST DEBTS
      • ABSENCE WITHOUT LEAVE
      • SHIRKING DUTY OR COWARDICE AT FIRES, IF APPLICABLE
      • VIOLATION OF AN APPLICABLE FIRE DEPARTMENT RULE OR SPECIAL ORDER

    APPEAL OF DISCIPLINARY SUSPENSION

    • IF A SUSPENDED FIRE FIGHTER APPEALS THE SUSPENSION TO THE COMMISSION, THE COMMISSION SHALL HOLD A HEARING AND RENDER A DECISION IN WRITING WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER THE DATE IT RECEIVES NOTICE OF APPEAL.
    • THE COMMISSION MAY SUSPEND OR DISMISS A FIRE FIGHTER ONLY FOR VIOLATION OF CIVIL SERVICE RULES AND ONLY AFTER A FINDING BY THE COMMISSION OF THE TRUTH OF SPECIFIC CHARGES AGAINST THE FIRE FIGHTER.

    DEMOTIONS

    • IF THE HEAD OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT WANTS A FIRE FIGHTER UNDER HIS SUPERVISION OR JURISDICTION TO BE INVOLUNTARILY DEMOTED, THE DEPARTMENT HEAD MAY RECOMMEND IN WRITING TO THE COMMISSION THAT THE COMMISSION DEMOTE THE FIRE FIGHTER.
    • THE FIRE FIGHTER IS ENTITLED TO A FULL AND COMPLETE PUBLIC HEARING, AND THE COMMISSION MAY NOT DEMOTE A FIRE FIGHTER WITHOUT THAT PUBLIC HEARING.

    POLITICAL ACTIVITIES

    • WHILE IN UNIFORM OR ON ACTIVE DUTY, A FIRE FIGHTER MAY NOT TAKE AN ACTIVE PART IN ANOTHER PERSON'S POLITICAL CAMPAIGN FOR AN ELECTIVE POSITION OF THE MUNICIPALITY.

    STRIKE PROHIBITION

    • A FIRE FIGHTER MAY NOT ENGAGE IN A STRIKE AGAINST THE GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY THAT EMPLOYS THE FIRE FIGHTER.



    Page Last Updated: Jan 14, 2015 (16:36:19)
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