The Somers Point city fire protection shall be provided by a single Fire Department comprised of not fewer than 25 active members. In order to become a member of the City Fire Department, an individual must apply for and obtain membership in good standing in a recognized Fire Company of the City of Somers Point, pursuant to the bylaws of the recognized Fire Company. Any individual having such membership status in a recognized Fire Company of the City of Somers Point may apply for membership in the City Fire Department and shall automatically obtain status as a member of the City Fire Department 30 days after the filing of an application for City Fire Department membership with the City Fire Chief, subject to the following conditions:
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-9, the individual must:
Be a citizen of the United States.
Be sound in body and of good health sufficient to satisfy the Board of Trustees of the Police and Fireman's Retirement System of New Jersey as to his/her eligibility for membership in the retirement system.
Have a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate and be able to read, write and speak the English language well and intelligently. However, the provisions of this subsection shall not disqualify from membership any individual who is already a member of the City Fire Department as of the effective date of this chapter.
Be of good moral character and shall not have been convicted of any criminal offense involving moral turpitude.
The individual shall agree, in writing, to be bound by the rules and regulations of the City Fire Department and shall so agree in his/her application for membership in the City Fire Department.
The City Fire Chief may reject the application for membership of any individual, so long as the rejection is in writing, gives reasons for the rejection and is supplied to the individual and to the designated Council representative to the City Fire Department within the thirty-day period after the individual files the application. If the City Fire Chief does not reject the application in the prescribed manner within the thirty-day period, the application shall be considered accepted, and City Fire Department status shall occur. The Council reserves the right to allow City Fire Department membership status to any individual whose membership application has been rejected by the City Fire Chief.
As of the effective date of this chapter, recognized Fire Companies in the City of Somers Point shall be limited to Somers Point Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 and Somers Point Volunteer Fire Company No. 2. The recognized Fire Companies shall provide their Company membership applications to the Municipal Clerk for the public record and shall maintain a copy on file in its records for inspection.
Any qualified member of a recognized fire company shall be a member of the City Fire Department regardless of his or her place of residence. However, the Council may establish priorities of eligibility by way of rules and regulations which shall guide Council when considering any individual for an officer position in the City Fire Department. The rules and regulations priorities of eligibility section shall follow the requirements of N.J.S.A. 40A:14-9.1 through 40A:14-10.1a.
All references to the "City Fire Department" shall mean the Somers Point City Fire Department and the officers and individuals that comprise the City Fire Department.
Officers of the City Fire Department shall be:
The Council will select and appoint officers from names submitted by the recognized Fire Companies, except with respect to the positions of Fire Marshal and Assistant Fire Marshal. All consideration shall be given to the recommended candidates for office, but the Council shall have the right to select any other qualified individual or individuals in the event that the candidates submitted for the position(s) are not acceptable to the Council. The Council retains the same right respecting the positions of Fire Marshal and Assistant Fire Marshal. In addition, in the event that City Fire Department candidates for officer positions do not meet the eligibility prerequisites, the Council may select such individuals from the City Fire Department as it deems qualified for officer positions.
So long as there are two recognized fire companies, the Chief will be selected from one recognized fire company and the Deputy Chief will be selected from the other recognized fire company. When a Chiefs term of office is completed, the Deputy Chief may be appointed by the Council to serve as the next Chief, or the Council may select another qualified candidate for the office of Chief, so long as that candidate is selected from the recognized Fire Company in which the Deputy Chief held membership. It is the intent of this subsection, so long as there are two recognized Fire Companies, that the offices of Chief and Deputy Chief shall alternate between the two recognized Fire Companies such that the Chief and Deputy Chief shall always be members of different recognized Fire Companies.
Each recognized Fire Company will submit candidate names to fill one Assistant Chief, one Captain and one Lieutenant position. As of the effective date of this chapter and so long as there are two recognized Fire Companies, the Council shall select one Assistant Chief, one of Captain and one Lieutenant from each recognized Fire Company. As of the effective date of this chapter and so long as there are two recognized Fire Companies, the selections of the Council shall result in one Assistant Chief, one Captain and one Lieutenant being selected from one of the recognized Fire Companies and the other Assistant Chief, Captain and Lieutenant being selected from the other recognized Fire Company.
The office of Fire Marshal and Assistant Fire Marshal shall be filled by the Council from recommended candidates supplied by the Chief, subject, however, to the Council's rights stated in Subsection A above and elsewhere in this chapter. The selection made shall be such that the Fire Marshal and Assistant Fire Marshal shall be from different recognized Fire Companies, and the position shall alternate such that whenever the Fire Marshal is selected from one recognized Fire Company, then the position of Assistant Fire Marshal shall be selected from the other recognized Fire Company.
The Chief and Deputy Chief of the City Fire Department shall each hold office for a period of three years. Said terms of office shall not be staggered, but shall run consecutively.
The other offices of Assistant Chief, Captain, Lieutenant and Assistant Fire Marshal shall be for one-year terms. The office of Fire Marshal shall be for a three-year term.
All officers shall be appointed to their positions by the Council at the annual reorganization meeting in January of each year or as soon thereafter as possible. In any event, any three-year term of office shall terminate at the end of the third calendar year commencing with the calendar year of selection to said office. In like manner, any one-year term of office shall terminate at the end of the calendar year in which the selection for said office was made.
Every candidate for an officer position and every officer shall be and must remain a member in good standing of his or her respective recognized Fire Company.
All officer candidates must meet the general qualifications for members listed under N.J.S.A. 40A:14-9, as amended, and such other priorities or requirements of eligibility as may be established herein and by the City Fire Department rules and regulations.
In order to be eligible for an officer position, an individual must have served as an active fire fighter for at least three years next preceding his or her selection as an officer or hold the status at such time as an exempt fire fighter. Such prerequisites of service or status must have been with a recognized Fire Company in the City of Somers Point or a Fire Company in some other jurisdiction or municipality. All officers of the City Fire Department shall be 21 years of age or more at the time of selection to the officer position.
No member of the City Fire Department shall be eligible for selection to the office of Chief or Deputy Chief unless that member is available for fire duty the major portion of each twenty-four-hour day.
In addition to other eligibility requirements:
No member of the City Fire Department shall be eligible for the officer position of Chief unless he or she has held the office of Deputy Chief of the City Fire Department for at least one year.
No member of the City Fire Department shall be eligible for the officer position of Deputy Chief unless he or she has held the office of Assistant Chief of the City Fire Department. No member of the City Fire Department shall be eligible for the officer position of Assistant Chief unless he or she has held the position of Captain of the City Fire Department. No member of the City Fire Department shall be eligible for the officer position of Captain unless he or she has held the officer position of Lieutenant of the City Fire Department. The Council reserves the right, in its discretion, to accept equivalent qualifications of an individual who has served in an officer position of a fire company in some other jurisdiction or municipality.
[Amended 12-17-1992 by Ord. No. 28-1992]
These requirements shall not apply to the initial appointments made under this chapter.
In the event that the eligibility requirements for any officer position of the City Fire Department cannot be met by members of the City Fire Department, the Council shall consult with the City Fire Department and select the best qualified person or persons to fill officer positions.
The Council may select a current Chief or any other current officer for a one-year holdover term or until his or her successor shall be selected by the Council, whichever shall first occur.
The Council, by and through the designated Council representative to the City Fire Department, shall be responsible for the general fire protection policy of the city and for expenditures pertaining thereto.
The care and maintenance of any constructive trust portion of any firehouse shall be the responsibility of the Council, by and through the designated Council representative to the City Fire Department, in cooperation with the respective recognized Fire Company.
All reports made to the designated Council representative to the City Fire Department shall be reported by that designated Council representative to the Council.