[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Westbrook 12-6-1982; amended 9-9-1996; 11-3-2008 (Ch. 2, Art. V, of the 2007 Code). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
It shall be the duty of all persons in the public safety service(s) of the City to comply with rules contained in this chapter and aid in their enforcement.
A Public Safety Commission of the City is hereby established.
Membership, appointment and compensation.
The Public Safety Commission shall consist of one member from each ward, not to exceed five members, who shall be qualified voters from the City. In addition, the Mayor may appoint one member to serve as an alternate, who shall also be a qualified voter of the City, and who may attend and participate in all Commission proceedings, except that he or she may only vote when one or more regular members are absent.
The Mayor shall appoint the original members of the Commission using the following procedure: for the first terms, he shall appoint one to serve one year, one to serve two years, one to serve three years, one to serve four years and one to serve five years. Thereafter, all appointments shall be for a complete term of five years, and the terms of office shall expire on the first day of January.
The members of the Commission shall be compensated as approved by the City Council.
Oath. Before entering upon their duties, Commissioners of the Public Safety Commission shall take the oath of office before the City Clerk or other duly qualified official.
Officers; term. The Public Safety Commission shall elect by majority vote one of its members to serve as Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary, who shall hold office for a period of one year.
The Public Safety Commission shall administer the provisions of this chapter and shall draft and adopt rules, as authorized under this chapter, for the hiring and the promotion procedures for members of the Police, Fire & Rescue and Communications Departments of the City.
Prior to the adoption or modification of rules under this section, the Commission shall give notice of proposed changes or modifications to the Mayor, the City Administrator, the City Clerk, the City Council, the public safety department heads and to the heads of the local police, fire/rescue and communications unions.
Prior to adoption or modification of rules under this section, the Commission shall conduct a public hearing on the proposed adoption or modification of rules. The Commission shall accept written comments on the rules for a period of five business days from the date of the conclusion of the hearing.
Rules adopted or modified under this section, as provided above, shall be published through the office of the City Clerk and shall become effective upon passage by a majority vote of Commission members at a public hearing.
Candidates shall become eligible for employment through the process defined by Commission rules governing each of the public safety departments.
Eligibility lists for initial employment shall remain in force not longer than one year for the Police, Fire & Rescue and Communications Departments. The Commission shall submit to the Mayor and the affected department head three names for one vacancy, four names for two vacancies, five names for three vacancies, six names for four vacancies, and seven names for five vacancies. The department head shall recommend to the Mayor the best qualified candidate(s) for hire from the names submitted. In the event there are not enough qualified candidates to meet the above requirements, the Commission may waive such numerical requirement to facilitate filling any vacancies.
Each eligibility list for initial hires shall be deemed confidential personnel records except as otherwise required by law.
The Public Safety Commission shall implement the promotional process for each public safety department in accordance with the rules adopted under this chapter and report its findings to the Mayor.
The Commission shall submit to the Mayor and the affected department head three names for one promotional vacancy, four names for two vacancies, five names for three vacancies, six names for four vacancies, and seven names for five vacancies. The department head shall recommend to the Mayor the best qualified candidate(s) for promotion from the names submitted. In the event there are not enough qualified candidates to meet the above requirements, the Commission may waive such numerical requirement to facilitate filling the vacancy.
The Public Safety Commission shall keep records of its proceedings.
The Public Safety Commission may either establish by vote a time and place for regular monthly meetings or may meet in special meetings as frequently as necessitated by Commission business. Special meetings will be called either by the Chair individually or by the Chair upon a request from a majority of the members of the Commission.
Three members shall constitute a quorum. All votes shall be determined by a majority vote of the members present and voting so long as a quorum is present.
Except as otherwise provided by law or in the case of a public safety emergency, any matters that may properly come before the Commission may be acted upon, provided at least 24 hours' advance public notice has been given.
All expenses incident to the operation of the Public Safety Commission shall be paid by the City after prior approval by the Council and be chargeable to the department for which the expenses may have been incurred.
The City Solicitor shall act as attorney for the Public Safety Commission if requested to do so by the Commission.
Police officers. Requirements for applicants for the Police Department shall be established by Commission rule and shall be available for public inspection in the City Clerk's office and on the City's internet website.
Firefighters and firefighter/paramedics. Requirements for applicants for the Fire & Rescue Department, including firefighter paramedics, shall be established by Commission rule and shall be available for public inspection in the City Clerk's office and on the City's internet website.
Communications dispatcher. Requirements for applicants for communications dispatcher shall be established by Commission rule and shall be available for public inspection in the City Clerk's office and on the City's internet website.
The Commission shall establish by rule procedures for each public safety department to investigate the background of all applicants to determine their good character and suitability for positions of public trust.