[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Middletown as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 8-16-1999 by Ord. No. 99-2555 (Ch. 24, Art. X, of the 1996 Township Code)]
The State of New Jersey has recently recognized the need to increase the incentives for persons to volunteer their time and efforts in volunteer firefighting or first aid squads, which activities have a long history and tradition of providing essential services to many municipalities in this state, by recently enacting the "Emergency Services Volunteer Length of Service Award Program Act."
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 40A:14-183 et seq.
The Township of Middletown has the largest volunteer fire department in the United States and also has a very active and well-trained volunteer first aid squad serving the residents of the Township.
The Township Committee recognizes the personal commitment and time involved in the training and response to calls required by these volunteers, and deems it appropriate and necessary to act to ensure retention of existing members and to provide incentives for recruiting new volunteer firefighters/first aid members for the Middletown Volunteer Fire Department and the Middletown First Aid & Rescue Squad.
The Township of Middletown has determined that the creation of a Length of Service Awards Program will enhance the ability of the Township and the Volunteer Fire Department and Volunteer First Aid Squad to both retain existing members and recruit new volunteer firefighters/first aid members.
A Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) is herewith created in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-183 et seq., to reward members of the Middletown Volunteer Fire Department and the Middletown First Aid and Rescue Squad (inclusive of the fire companies and first aid squads recognized and sanctioned by the Township) for their loyal, diligent, and devoted services to the residents of Middletown.
The LOSAP shall provide for fixed annual contributions to be made by the Township annually to a deferred income account for each volunteer member who the Township determines meets the annual eligibility criteria set forth below; that such contributions shall be made in accordance with a plan that shall be established by the Township of Middletown pursuant to the Act; and that such plan shall be administered in accordance with the laws of the State of New Jersey, the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, and this article.
The LOSAP shall provide for annual contributions for each eligible member whom the Township has determined has performed and accrued 50 points of service in the particular calendar year pursuant to the Middletown LOSAP point system. The annual contribution for each eligible member accruing the required 50 points shall be the amount set forth in the following schedule based upon length of prior service. The Township reserves the right to amend the point system and schedule.
[Amended 4-21-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-2715]
The Fire Department and First Aid Squads will make a recommendation, and the Township Committee will determine, the length of service credit, to the maximum prior service credit permitted by the Act, to be established for each member for prior volunteer service with the Fire Department or First Aid Squad before the effective date of this article and program. That prior service determination will establish the position on the Length of Service Schedule for each existing member of the Fire Department or First Aid Squad upon the initiation of this program commencing January 1, 2000.
[Amended 4-21-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-2715]
An active volunteer member can receive a separate annual LOSAP Award for qualified participation in each of the Fire Department and the First Aid Squad (but not for participation with two fire companies or two first aid squads). Calls responded to by a member of both the Fire Department Company and First Aid Squad can only be credited as one call to one agency.
Each active volunteer member shall accrue and be credited with points, to be totaled on an annual basis per calendar year, for volunteer services provided as per the Middletown LOSAP Point System Schedule set forth herein as part of this article. The Fire Department and First Aid Squad shall, at the conclusion of each calendar year, provide a list and recommendation as to the members achieving the required 50 points of service and the basis for that recommendation. The Township Committee will thereafter make the determination as to members on the list as to compliance with the eligibility requirement for each calendar year.
[Adopted 8-4-1997 by Ord. No. 97-2479 as Ch. 28, § 28-10, of the 1996 Township Code; amended in its entirety 8-17-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-3147]
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-183 et seq., the Township shall continue to maintain its Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) first established on January 1, 2000, for all active volunteer members of the Township's recognized volunteer fire departments and first aid squads for their loyal, diligent and devoted service to the residents of Middletown. The program shall provide for fixed annual contributions to be made by the Township annually to a deferred income account for each volunteer member who the Township determines meets the annual eligibility criteria in accordance with the plan established by the Township pursuant to applicable law and the Township Code.
The following definitions shall govern the Township's LOSAP program:
- ACTIVE VOLUNTEER MEMBER
- Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-184, as a condition of eligibility for participation in the Township's LOSAP program, each participating fire department, fire company, first aid or rescue squad's bylaws must minimally define an active volunteer member eligible for participation in the LOSAP program as an individual member in good standing who provides a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service within the applicable year.
- CERTIFYING OFFICER
- Each volunteer fire department, fire company, first aid or rescue squad participating in the Township's LOSAP program must have a designated certifying officer who annually submits and certifies to the LOSAP points accumulated by members of their fire department or first aid squad based on records maintained by them. Certifying officers may be shared between fire departments or rescue squads and may be professionals or individuals retained by the organization so long as they can attest to the accuracy of its LOSAP records.
- A. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-184, the Township defines an elected or appointed position eligible for LOSAP credit as an active volunteer member who serves in any of the following titles for a full calendar year:
- B. No more than one individual may hold a position for purposes of LOSAP credit and no enrollee may receive credit for more than one position during any applicable year.
- YEARS OF SERVICE
- Years of service shall be counted only for years in which a volunteer met the Township's eligibility criteria as an active volunteer member.
The Township's LOSAP program shall provide fixed annual contributions based on years of service pursuant to the following schedule for each active volunteer member accruing at least 50 LOSAP points during the applicable year.
Each active volunteer member shall accrue and be credited with points to be totaled annually for volunteer services provided. Each fire department and rescue squad's certifying officer shall maintain records of the points accrued for its respective membership and provide a certified list to the Township enumerating each active volunteer member who has accrued 50 points based on the following scoring system of qualified volunteer activities.
Training courses (25 point maximum).
Drills (25 point maximum): one point per drill for minimum two-hour drill.
Elected or appointed positions (25 point maximum): 25 points for one complete year of service in elected or appointed position under the definition of "elected or appointed position" in Subsection B of this section. Where an elected or appointed position is vacated and a different member appointed to fulfill those duties, the appointed member may be awarded a prorated award of two points for each full month served in that position.
Attendance at meetings (25 point maximum): one point is accrued per meeting attended. Applicable meetings include: individual monthly fire company or rescue squad meetings, designated subcommittee meetings, captain or chief's meetings, and meetings of recognized nonprofit or governmental state or county fire or rescue squad associations or organizations. Individuals receiving points for service in an elected or appointed position shall not receive points for meeting attendance as a duty of that position.
Emergency responses (25 point maximum). In order to receive 25 points for participation in emergency responses, the active volunteer member must respond to a minimum amount of calls annually as follows:
Miscellaneous (20 point maximum). Participation in sanctioned activity, such as: inspections, work on equipment or facilities, fund-raising activity, etc., may be awarded a half point for every hour of participation in a sanctioned activity.
Dual enrollment is permitted between different volunteer organizations, but in no circumstance may such enrollment result in an aggregate Township contribution in excess of the maximum contribution permitted for the maximum years of service rendered as specified under § 53-11C.
Vested enrollees may withdraw from the program by way of a LOSAP retirement and may continue to serve as a volunteer, but may not reenroll in the Township's LOSAP program.
Vested enrollees may seek distributions if determined to be totally disabled from continuing in volunteer service.
Vested enrollees may seek a hardship distribution in an unexpected emergency, such as: a casualty loss, death of spouse, foreclosure on principal home, or other unanticipated emergency circumstance determined to be qualifying by the Township.
A vested enrollee may withdraw from the Township's LOSAP program, but must fully resign and separate from service for a minimum of one year in order to be eligible to reenroll in LOSAP starting at zero years of service upon reenrollment for the purpose of calculating LOSAP credit.
The designated beneficiaries of a LOSAP enrollee, regardless of whether vested or not, may receive the proceeds remaining in the enrollee's account.
All records maintained by the certifying officers of the Township's recognized volunteer fire departments, fire companies, first aid and rescue squads relating the accrual of LOSAP points shall be subject to annual and random audit by the Township prior to any contributions being made.
This article shall be effective for all LOSAP contributions being made by the Township for LOSAP points accrued during the 2015 calendar year.