[Amended 7-28-2011 by L.L. No. 2-2011]
The Board of Trustees or the Chief or, in the Chief's absence, his assistant next in line of command may immediately suspend any member whose action recklessly endangers life, health or property or who refuses to obey a lawful order. In addition, the Board of Trustees may exercise its authority for emergency suspension based upon any violation of the criteria established under § 13-10 hereof and which under the circumstances warrants an emergency suspension. In its resolution authorizing suspension, or ratification of same at the next following regular or special meeting of the Village Board of Trustees, the reason(s) for exercise of this right shall be articulated. Any suspension hereunder shall be temporary and made so pending further action by the Fire Department or Board of Trustees. A written report of any such action taken by the Chief or next-in-line assistant shall be made to the Board of Trustees within 24 hours of the suspension. The Board, at that time, may assume responsibility for further action pursuant to this chapter.
In the event that the Fire Department, pursuant to its bylaws, takes an action against a member or officer, the following procedure will apply:
Any suspension or removal (except as set forth in § 13-8) of a member or officer taken by the members of the Fire Department pursuant to its bylaws shall not be deemed final until recognized by duly adopted resolution of the Board of Trustees. A suspension or removal pursuant to or related to a violation or enforcement of the bylaws may also comprise, or be inclusive of, charges of incompetence or misconduct. The Chief shall notify the Board of Trustees of such action within five days of the date thereof. Such notification to the Board shall consist of detailed statement of the alleged violation of the bylaws, a copy of the pertinent bylaws alleged to have been violated, and any statements, documentation or other evidence upon which the action and decision of the Fire Department were based (the foregoing collectively the "record"). The Board of Trustees will notify the member affected prior to consideration of the action of the Fire Department and shall give said member an opportunity to be heard. The Department shall be required to deliver the entire record to the Board of Trustees to assist in its consideration.
The Board of Trustees, upon review of the action taken by the Fire Department and subject to the limitations stated herein, may modify its decision, including any punishment or penalty. Additionally, the Board of Trustees may reverse the decision of the Fire Department and reinstate the member or officer of the alleged charges or may confirm the decision of the Fire Department. Such decision shall be made within 15 days of receipt of the notice from the Fire Department as set forth in § 13-9A. In reviewing the action taken by the Fire Department, the Board of Trustees shall only modify or reverse the decision of the Fire Department and/or any penalty or punishment imposed if it determines after a review of the record that the decision by the Fire Department was expressly, or in substance, based upon a consideration of charges relating to incompetency or misconduct. Accordingly, the Board of Trustees shall not modify, reverse or otherwise affect a decision of the Fire Department suspending or removing a member or officer for a violation of the bylaws not involving acts or omissions of alleged incompetency or misconduct.
The following may be considered by the Board of Trustees (nonexclusively) as acts or omissions of misconduct and/or incompetency constituting cause for the removal or suspension of a member or officer of the Fire Department:
Failure to comply with the rules and regulations in this chapter or a material provision of the bylaws of the Fire Department.
Dereliction of duty.
Insubordination to Department officers or the Board of Trustees.
Misuse of Village or Fire Department property and equipment.
Failure to report a required incident, injury or accident to the Board of Trustees.
Inability to perform the duties of a firefighter due to reasons of health, mental or physical incapacity shall be considered cause for removal, but if of a temporary nature, these may be considered as a legal excuse for temporary nonperformance.
Absence or failure to appear at fires, incidents, drills and meetings as required by the Fire Department, its bylaws, this chapter or the Village Board of Trustees or authorized officer thereof.
Any other acts or omissions constituting incompetency or misconduct.
Discovery of any material fact required to be and not so disclosed by a member in connection with his or her application for membership, or otherwise not disclosed or made available to the Village Board in connection with its appointment/approval of the member for admission into the Fire Department.
[Added 7-28-2011 by L.L. No. 2-2011]
Charges. The Board of Trustees or any other officer of the Fire Department may file charges with the Board of Trustees that a member or officer of the Fire Department has violated any of the provisions of § 13-9A.
Notification. The Board of Trustees shall notify the member or officer concerned that charges have been filed against him. Such notification shall contain a copy of such charges and a notice that the officer or member shall answer said charges, in writing, within 20 days of receipt of same.
Hearing. The Board of Trustees shall promptly schedule a hearing of the charges within 30 days after the filing of an answer or within 30 days after the time to file an answer has expired. The charging party shall first present evidence substantiating the charges, followed by evidence to be presented by the accused, if any. The accused person or officer may be represented by counsel, produce the testimony of witnesses in his favor and cross-examine witnesses against him. The burden of proving incompetency or misconduct shall be upon the Board. Compliance with technical rules of evidence shall not be required. A stenographic or other verbatim record of the proceeding shall be kept, and a copy shall be supplied to the accused. As an alternative, the Board of Trustees may designate another individual to conduct the hearing, to make a record of the hearing and, after the conclusion of the hearing, to make a recommendation to the Board as to the guilt or innocence of the member. No disciplinary proceeding shall be commenced more than six months after the alleged incompetency or misconduct has been brought to the attention of the Board.
Temporary suspension. Pending a disciplinary hearing and determination of disciplinary charges, the member or officer against whom charges have been preferred may be suspended by majority vote of the Board of Trustees.
Written determination. The Board of Trustees shall make a written determination upon the record before it within 20 days of the public hearing.
Appeal. A member or officer of the Fire Department who may be aggrieved by a final determination of the Board of Trustees in the exercise of its authority pursuant to this article may initiate a judicial proceeding in accordance with the provisions of Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
The procedure set forth in § 13-10B shall be utilized only in the event that a majority of the Board of Trustees might seek to impose suspension or removal upon a member or officers for acts or omissions of misconduct or incompetency for which such due process is legally required. As to any other disciplinary decisions, including other adverse action taken by the Board of Trustees against a member or officers of the Fire Department, such member may request a hearing before the Board of Trustees to address the action taken by the Board if same has not previously been provided; however, the Board of Trustees shall not be obligated to grant same.