Bill Text - HB1407 (2012)

Allowing towns to establish a firefighter commission.


Revision: Dec. 14, 2011, midnight

HB 1407 – AS INTRODUCED

2012 SESSION

12-2694

08/10

HOUSE BILL 1407

AN ACT allowing towns to establish a firefighter commission.

SPONSORS: Rep. Theberge, Coos 4; Rep. Coulombe, Coos 4; Rep. Proulx, Hills 15; Sen. Carson, Dist 14

COMMITTEE: Municipal and County Government

ANALYSIS

This bill allows towns to establish a firefighter commission.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

12-2694

08/10

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twelve

AN ACT allowing towns to establish a firefighter commission.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 New Subdivision; Fire Commission. Amend RSA 154 by inserting after section 34 the following new subdivision:

Firefighter Commission

154:35 Establishment Authority. Any town which adopts this subdivision may establish a firefighter commission, consisting of 3 commissioners, who shall have been residents of the town for at least 3 years immediately preceding the date of their election or appointment.

154:36 Referendum. The following questions shall be submitted to the voters of a town on the regular ballot for the election of town officers if a petition is presented to the selectmen in accordance with RSA 39:3 requesting the same:

I. “Shall the government of the fire department of the town of ______________ be entrusted to a firefighter commission?”

II. “If so, shall such firefighter commissioners be chosen by:

(a) Popular election at town election; or

(b) Appointment of the governor with consent of the council?”

III. “If so, shall members of the firefighter commission receive compensation?”

154:37 Establishment.

I. If a majority of those voting in a town in any town election answer the question posed in RSA 154:36, I in the affirmative and select the method of establishment set out in RSA 154:36, II(a), the voters of such town shall, at the next succeeding annual town election, elect such a firefighter commission. The term of office of each such commissioner shall be for 3 years, except that of the first commission elected under this chapter in any town, one member shall be elected to serve a term of one year and one member shall be elected to serve a term of 2 years. Any vacancy occurring on the commission shall be filled by appointment of the board of selectmen until the next regular annual town meeting.

II. If a majority of those voting in a town in any town election answer the question posed in RSA 154:36, I in the affirmative and select the method of establishment set out in RSA 154:36, II(b), the governor, with the consent of the council, shall promptly appoint such a commission. The term of office of each such commissioner shall be for 3 years, except that of the first commission appointed under this chapter in any town, one member shall be appointed to serve a term of one year and one member shall be appointed to serve a term of 2 years. Any vacancy occurring on the commission shall be filled by appointment of the governor, with the approval of the council, for the duration of the unexpired term.

III. If a majority of those voting in a town in any town election answer the question posed in RSA 154:36, III in the affirmative, the selectmen shall schedule a public hearing to discuss the annual budget of the firefighter commission.

IV. No person holding office as a selectman, treasurer, collector of taxes, auditor, highway agent, or head of a fire department shall be elected or appointed as a firefighter commissioner under this section.

154:38 Duties; Powers.

I. It shall be the duty of the firefighter commissioners to appoint permanent firefighters, lieutenants, captains, deputy chiefs, fire chiefs, and any call firefighters as they deem necessary and to fix such persons’ compensation if a town votes to compensate the board under RSA 154:36. The commissioners shall make and enforce all rules necessary for the operation of the firefighting force in the manner most beneficial to the public interest. The commissioners may at any time remove fire personnel for just cause and after a hearing satisfying the requirements of due process, which cause shall be specified in an order of removal except that special fire officers appointed and designated as such shall serve at the pleasure of the commission and may be removed for other than just cause. Appeals from such decisions shall be heard pursuant to procedures established by the commissioners within the contracts with fire personnel.

II. The commission shall assume all administrative duties relating to the administration of the town’s fire department. Such powers shall include:

(a) Determining the number, location, and type of facilities and installations subject to the approval of the selectmen.

(b) Determine the number of fire personnel to be employed, subject to approval of the selectmen.

154:39 Prohibition; Firefighters in Office. After the election and qualification of the firefighter commissioners under this chapter, no fire chief or superior officers shall be appointed in any town adopting this chapter except as provided in this chapter. Any fire chief or superior officer in office on the date the commission has been duly established, shall be deemed to have been appointed by the commission, subject to the terms and conditions of his or her original appointment.

154:40 Compensation. Firefighter commissioners may serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for all actual expenses incurred in the discharge of official duties.

154:41 Option to Rescind Action. Any town which has voted to establish a firefighter commission under this chapter may rescind such action by submission of an article in the town warrant as provided in RSA 39:3.

2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

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