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Township of Saddle Brook, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Saddle Brook 6-26-1980 by Ord. No. 804;[1] amended in its entirety 11-10-2005 by Ord. No. 1372. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Administration of government — See Ch. 5.
Length of services awards program — See Ch. 18.
Pensions — See Ch. 27.
Police Department — See Ch. 33.
Alarms — See Ch. 50.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 93.
[1]:
Editor's Note: This chapter also repealed former Ch. 16, Fire Department, adopted 10-26-1974 by Ord. No. 714, as amended.
The Fire Department is hereby established for the Township of Saddle Brook. It shall consist of such officers and firemen as hereafter set forth.
There shall be as many engine, truck or other types of companies as the Mayor and Township Council may from time to time create and accept.
The Mayor may establish such rules and regulations as shall effectuate the purpose of this chapter. The several companies may establish, with the approval of the Mayor, rules, regulations, and bylaws for their own government; provided, however, that such rules, regulations, and bylaws shall not be inconsistent with the chapter nor with the rules and regulations established by the Mayor. No rules, regulations and bylaws so established shall be suspended, amended or promulgated without the consent of the Mayor.
All rules and regulations of the Mayor and all rules, regulations and bylaws of the respective companies of the Fire Department shall become effective 10 days after the posting of the same at fire headquarters. Such rules and regulations and bylaws shall remain posted at fire headquarters for a period of not less than six consecutive months after their effective date.
Meetings of the Fire Department will be held quarterly on the second Monday of the month; meetings will be held in the months of February, May, August, and November.
A. 
The officers of the Department shall consist of a Fire Chief and an Assistant Fire Chief, who shall be members in good standing of the Department. In order to be eligible for the office of Fire Chief, a candidate must have served as a Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief, and Assistant Fire Chief for a minimum consecutive period of 12 months in each position. To be eligible for the office of Assistant Fire Chief, a candidate must have served as a Lieutenant, Captain, and Battalion Chief for a minimum consecutive period of 12 months in each position.
B. 
Ex-Chiefs and Ex-Assistant Chiefs are also eligible for the office of Fire Chief and Assistant Fire Chief.
C. 
The term of Fire Chief and Assistant Chief shall commence on the first day of January of the year next following the annual Department election and shall continue until their successors shall take office.
D. 
The Battalion Chief from the company next in rotation will act in the capacity of Acting Second Assistant Fire Chief. He will function in the absence of the Fire Chief and/or Assistant Fire Chief or at their request.
E. 
Should the Fire Chief not be able to complete his term, the Assistant Chief will act as Fire Chief and the Second Assistant Chief will act as Assistant Chief for the duration of the unexpired term. Should the Assistant Fire Chief not be able to complete his term, the Second Assistant Fire Chief shall act as Assistant Chief for the duration of the unexpired term.
F. 
An unexpired term of office will be filled as per chapter. If a second year is available to a company, the office will remain with the company.
All nominations and seconds must be made at the November meeting. If the position of Chief, Assistant Chief, Chaplain or Chaplain's Assistant is nominated, seconded and uncontested, then the President shall instruct the Secretary to cast one ballot for those positions at that time. The members of the Saddle Brook Fire Department shall at the November meeting, accept nominations for the offices of Fire Chief, Assistant Chief, Chaplain, and Chaplain's Assistant. Election ballots will be counted within one week of the election, using the following procedure for contested positions:
A. 
An Election Committee will be appointed by the President of the Saddle Brook Fireman's Association at the November meeting. The Committee will consist of two members from each company. The Election Committee will elect a Chairperson from its ranks at that meeting. Each company's Lieutenant will be responsible to provide a roster sheet of all eligible voters to the Election Committee. The Department Secretary will have 150 blank ballots at the November Department meeting. The Department Secretary will also have 150 envelopes marked "ballot" and 150 blank envelopes. The Department Secretary will also be responsible to bring a ballot box.
B. 
At the November Department meeting, each eligible voter will be given a ballot, a ballot envelope, and a blank envelope. Each eligible voter will write in his choice of the candidate for each individual office. The ballot will be placed in the envelope marked "ballot," and the ballot envelope will be placed in the blank envelope. On the blank envelope, each voter will sign his name, print his name and list which company the voter represents. All envelopes will be turned in at that time to the Election Committee.
C. 
If an eligible voter is not present at the November Department meeting, the voter will be able to obtain an absentee ballot from a member of the Election Committee from his company. The voter will fill out the ballot the same way as stated in Subsection B of this section. The voter will fill out the ballot and immediately return it back to the member of the Election Committee.
D. 
A list of the Election Committee and all nominated candidates will be posted by the Election Committee, in each firehouse by 7:00 p.m. of the next day following the November Department meeting.
E. 
If all ballots are received by the Election Committee prior to the Monday immediately following the November Department meeting, then the Chairman of the Election Committee shall call a meeting of the Election Committee to tally the ballots and announce the vote results.
F. 
The Chairperson of the Election Committee will be responsible for holding the ballot box. The Committee will assemble at the firehouse of the Chairperson when all ballots are received. The signed envelopes will be matched to the roster of eligible voters. All ineligible ballots will be discarded. The ballot envelopes will be separated from the signature envelopes. The ballot envelopes will be put back into the ballot box. The signature envelopes and roster sheet will be kept for a period of two weeks by the Chairperson. The ballots will be opened and counted. The Chairperson of the Election Committee will announce the winners of the election over the pager system. The Chairperson will also post the results in each firehouse.
G. 
Any members falsifying a ballot will be brought up to the Board of Fire Officers, and disciplinary action will be taken.
H. 
Guidelines for election.
(1) 
In the event of a tie, a runoff election will be held one week later at a special meeting.
(2) 
In the event the elected person wishes to decline the election, the person receiving the next highest number of votes will be declared the winner.
(3) 
Votes cast for people not meeting the qualifications for the office will not be counted and will not affect the outcome.
(4) 
Election will be by a plurality of the votes cast.
(5) 
No nominated candidate may serve on the Election Committee.
(6) 
Within two weeks after the posting of the election results, the victorious candidate must submit a letter to the Chairperson of the Election Committee stating his acceptance of the position.
I. 
Eligibility to vote. All active members and active life members are eligible to vote in all Department and company firematic elections with the following exceptions:
(1) 
A member who has not met the required percentage of fire duty.
(2) 
A member on sick leave for over one-year period of time, except if hurt in line of duty.
(3) 
Except if illness or injury incurred while in the line of duty.
(4) 
A member on leave of absence or serving a suspension from the Fire Department.
(5) 
Probationary members.
(6) 
Junior fire fighter active member.
(7) 
Supplemental active members. (See Appendix C[1])
[1]:
Editor's Note: Appendix C, Rules and Regulations for Supplemental Active Members, is on file in the Township's offices.
J. 
Election of the Fire Chief and Assistant Fire Chief are subject to the confirmation of the Mayor. The Fire Chief and the Assistant Fire Chief shall be elected for a one-year term and may not serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office.
K. 
The persons nominated. For the offices of Fire Chief and Assistant Fire Chief must come only from the company next in line to fill the position. In order that the members of each fire company may have an equal opportunity with the members of the other companies to advance to the position of Fire chief and Assistant Fire Chief of the Fire Department, the following method of rotation or succession in office is hereby established:
(1) 
The Fire Chief of the Department will be elected from Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 for the year 2005. His successor must be elected from Engine Company No. 2. The following Fire Chief must be elected from Engine Company No. 1. In subsequent years, the nomination for the Office of Fire Chief shall be made in the same order of succession as hereby set forth.
(2) 
Assistant Fire Chief of the Department will be elected from Engine Company No. 2 for the year 2005. His successor must be elected from Engine Company No. 1. The following Assistant Fire Chief must be elected from Hook and Ladder Company No. 1. In subsequent years, the nominees for the Office of Assistant Fire Chief shall be made in the same order of succession as hereby set forth.
A. 
The Fire Chief and Assistant Fire Chief shall have control over the Fire Department, subject however, to the control of the Mayor. The Chief or, in his absence, the Assistant Fire Chief shall render a report annually to the Mayor. Such report shall contain a record of all fires attended by the Department during the preceding year, and such other information as may be required and requested by the Mayor.
B. 
The Fire Chief and Assistant Fire Chief shall serve as members of the Board of Fire Officers.
A. 
The offices of Chaplain and Chaplain's Assistant of the Fire Department are hereby established. The members of the Saddle Brook Fire Department shall at its annual Department election, by a plurality vote, subject to the confirmation of the Mayor, elect at-large for a one-year term, a Chaplain and a Chaplain's Assistant.
B. 
The term of office shall commence on the first day of January of the year following the annual Department election, and shall continue until their successors shall take office.
C. 
The Chaplain and Chaplain's Assistant will be entitled to wear badges and buttons so designed and supplied by the Fire Department.
The office of Custodian of Fire Department Records is hereby established. The Secretary of the Saddle Brook Firemen's Association shall be such Custodian. He shall hold his office at the pleasure of the members of the Saddle Brook Firemen's Association until the first day of January of the year next following his appointment and until his successor is appointed. He shall have control, supervision, and custody of all social records of the Fire Department. The aforesaid records shall be the property of the Township of Saddle Brook and, upon the expiration of his term of office, such records shall be promptly surrendered by him to his successor in office or to the Fire Department.
Each fire company shall conduct election of company officers at its annual company meeting at the time provided for in its bylaws. The election shall be determined by a plurality vote of those eligible company members present. Persons elected are subject to the confirmation of the Mayor. Company officers shall include a Battalion Chief, a Captain, a Lieutenant, as many engineers as needed (the number of which shall be determined by the number of pieces of apparatus housed in its respective company on a permanent basis,) and a maximum of four Fire Marshals. The term of all company officers shall commence on the first day of January of the year following the annual meeting at which they were elected and shall continue until their successors shall take office.
A. 
The Fire Chief shall be in charge of the Fire Department.
B. 
The Assistant Fire Chief shall be in charge of the Fire Department in the Chief's absence.
C. 
The Second Assistant Fire Chief, who shall be the Battalion Chief from the company next in rotation, shall be in charge of the Fire Department in the absence of the Fire Chief and the Assistant Fire Chief.
D. 
The Battalion Chief shall be in charge of his respective company. He will be subordinate to the command of the Fire Chief and the Assistant Fire Chief.
E. 
The Captain shall be subordinate to the command of all senior officers. He will be in charge of his company in the absence of his Battalion Chief. He will be in charge of the fire equipment in his company. The Captain will be the training officer of his company.
F. 
The Lieutenant shall be subordinate to all senior officers. He will be in charge of his company in the absence of his Battalion Chief and Captain. He will be in charge of fire personnel and records.
G. 
The Engineer shall be subordinate to the command of all senior officers. He shall be responsible for the maintenance of the fire equipment and apparatus.
H. 
In the absence of all company officers, the highest ranking ex-officers will take charge of his company.
In order to be eligible for the office of Fire Marshal one must be or have been an active member of the Fire Department. The duties of the Fire Marshal shall be to render assistance to the Fire Chief or any other fire officer as may be required by said fire officer or said fire officers in the performance of their duties.
A. 
No member of any company shall be eligible to be elected to any firematic office unless he or she has been a member of the Saddle Brook Fire Department for a minimum of three calendar years (36 months) and has attended 50% of his or her fire duties as required pursuant to this chapter for the 11 months preceding his election.
B. 
No member shall be eligible to be elected to the office of Captain unless he previously, at any time, has held the rank of Lieutenant for a minimum consecutive period of 12 months. No member shall be eligible to be elected to the office of Battalion Chief unless he previously, at any time, has held the rank of Captain for a minimum consecutive period of 12 months. Members eligible for office must first comply with all state and local mandates and requirements in effect at the time of their nomination.
The current Battalion Chief of each company shall certify to the Mayor, prior to or at the next regular meeting of the Township Council held thereafter, the result of any company election of officers held as herein prescribed. The results of any company election of the said officers shall be subject to the confirmation of the Mayor, at the next regular meeting of the Township Council held thereafter, the Chairperson of the Election Committee shall certify to the Mayor, prior to or at the next regular meeting of the Township Council held thereafter, the results of any Department election held as herein prescribed. The results of any Department election of the said officers shall be subject to the confirmation of the Mayor at the next regular meeting of the Township Council held thereafter.
The membership in each fire company shall be limited at 30 active members. In addition, each company may have a maximum of four fire marshals and five junior members. Supplemental active members will be limited to five per company. Nothing in this chapter shall limit the number of active life members or senior life members in the Department.
A. 
For the purpose of this chapter, the following classes of members are established:
(1) 
Active member, resident: An active member currently residing in the Township of Saddle Brook and who performs a minimum of 40% of his fire duties as prescribed in this chapter.
(2) 
Active member, nonresident: Must first be an active member resident as stated above. Must be off probation and a member in good standing and may then move outside of the Township of Saddle Brook only to one of the following towns: Fair Lawn, Elmwood Park, Garfield, Lodi or Rochelle Park. This member must continue to perform a minimum of 40% of his fire duties as prescribed in this chapter.
(3) 
Active life member, resident: An active life member is any fire fighter who has served the Township of Saddle Brook for 25 years as an active member, and who resides in the Township of Saddle Brook and performs at least 20% of his fire duties as prescribed in this chapter.
(4) 
Active life member, nonresident: An active life member is any fire fighter who has served the Township of Saddle Brook for 25 years as an active member, and who no longer resides in the Township of Saddle Brook, but performs at least 20% of his fire duties as prescribed in this chapter.
(5) 
Senior life member: A senior life member shall be an active life member who has attained the following, a minimum of 25 years of service to the Township Fire Department and when that number of years added to the member's age equals 80 shall be designated a senior life member. This member shall no longer be required to make any percentage of firematic or nonfirematic duties as prescribed in this chapter. There shall be no residency restrictions for this member.
(6) 
Junior active member, resident: A junior active member who shall be not less than 16 nor more than 18 years of age, is a resident of Saddle Brook, and has parental or legal guardian consent to join. A junior active member shall be subject to rules and regulations promulgated specifically for this member class.[1]
[1]:
Editor's Note: See Appendix B, on file in the Township's offices.
(7) 
Supplemental active member, nonresident: A supplemental active member is a member in good standing of a bona fide fire department in the State of New Jersey. Said member is employed full time within the geographical boundaries of Saddle Brook and has provided written documentation from both his fire department chief and his employer which allows him to respond to calls for Saddle Brook Fire Department. Said member will be subject to the rules of this Department as well as rules and regulations promulgated specifically for this member class.[2]
[2]:
Editor's Note: See Appendix C, on file in the Township's offices.
B. 
Disabilities: Should any active member of this department become disabled whereby it would be a hardship to physically perform either firematic and/or nonfirematic duties as prescribed in this chapter, then the member shall be excused from these requirements for the duration of the disability, or as determined by the Board of Fire Officers.
C. 
Each member shall also be bound by his own individual company bylaws.
In addition to other qualifications as may be prescribed from time to time pursuant to this chapter to any one applying for membership to the Fire Department, with the exception of a junior active member, shall at the time of his or her applying application be at least 18 years of age and no more than 55 years of age, shall be physically fit as certified by the Township Physician, be a citizen of the United States, be a resident of the Township for at least one calendar year, or a homeowner, have no criminal record, and comply with the rules and regulation of the Department and company. The applicant must execute a waiver permitting such criminal record, hospital and medical check as the Department may deem necessary to verify the facts set forth in the application. No one can reapply for membership after being rejected or dismissed. Acceptance of any applicant shall be subject to the approval of the Mayor.
A. 
The admission of any such application to any company shall be for a probationary period for one year.
B. 
The following qualifications must be met to successfully complete probation:
(1) 
Must meet 50% of firematic duties.
(2) 
The fire fighter has one year from the start of Fire Fighter 1, or equivalent, to successfully complete the course at an approved fire academy.
(3) 
Must be familiar with company equipment and procedures.
(4) 
Must attend required company training.
(5) 
Subject to the recommendation of the Battalion Chief of the company to which the probationary fire fighter has been assigned, or his designee.
C. 
All probationary fire fighters shall be notified by certified mail, return receipt requested, in three month intervals beginning on the date of admission, with regard to the percentage of firematic duties met. Said Battalion Chief, or his designee, at his sole discretion, may extend probation for a maximum of two consecutive three-month periods. At that time, if the probationary fire fighter has not met the requirements of a probationary fire fighter, a letter will be prepared by said Battalion Chief and forwarded to the probationary fire fighter, by certified mail, return receipt requested, stating why the fire fighter has not met his or her requirements. Any probationary fire fighter who has been denied full membership may appeal to the Board of Fire Officers within 30 days after such denial. The Board of Fire Officers shall hear the appeal at a special meeting and shall give all parties concerned an opportunity to present their respective positions. The written decision of the Board of Fire Officers shall be forwarded to the probationary fire fighter by certified mail, return receipt requested, within 10 days of the special meeting. If denied by the Board of Fire Officers, by the concurrence of a majority of the members present voting to deny at that time the vote is taken, the probationary member may appeal the decision of the Board to the Mayor within 30 days.
A. 
Composition. The Fire Department Board of Fire Officers shall consist of the Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, and the Battalion Chiefs of each company. The Fire Chief shall act as Chairperson and conduct all hearings and investigations. In the absence of the Fire Chief, the Assistant Fire Chief will act in his or her place as Chairperson. If both the Fire Chief and Assistant Fire Chief are not available, the Battalion Chief with the most seniority as Battalion Chief will act in their capacity as Chairperson. In the absence of the Fire Chief and/or Assistant Fire Chief, the President of the Department will take his place on the Board. In the absence of the Assistant Fire Chief, the Vice President of the Department will take his place on the Board. In the event that a company's Battalion Chief cannot sit on the Board, its respective Captain or Lieutenant will act in his absence. It will be the responsibility of the Department Secretary to attend all meetings held by the Fire Department Board of Fire Officers and take minutes of the meeting. The Department Secretary will have no vote or say at any meeting. The quorum is five members.
B. 
Powers. The Board of Fire Officers shall have the power to hear and decide appeals from denial of full membership to probationary fire fighters in accordance with the provision of § 16-19 of this chapter as well as the power to hear and decide charges brought against officers or members of the Department for infractions of the rules and regulations of the Department in accordance with the provisions of §§ 16-21, 16-22, 16-23, 16-24, 16-25, 16-26 and 16-27 of this chapter.
C. 
Authority to administer oaths. The presiding officer of the Board of Fire Offices may administer oaths to witnesses necessary in the performance of his or her duties to conduct hearings as follows:
"You sewer (or affirm) that the evidence you shall give in the case now in hearing shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God."
A. 
Charges and initiated by someone bringing to the attention of the Board of Fire Officers information concerning an offense suspected to have been committed by a member of the Fire Department subject to this chapter. Charges must be submitted within 30 days of the said incident. Any member who has had charges filed against him will have within 30 days to file counter charges.
B. 
Charges against offices or members of the Fire Department regarding violation of the rules and regulations of the Department and of this chapter shall be made in writing to the Board of Fire Officers and shall include the following:
(1) 
The name of the accuser.
(2) 
The name of the accused.
(3) 
A statement of where and when the offense was committed.
(4) 
A statement in simple and consist language of the facts constituting the offense.
(5) 
To the extent possible, the specific rule or regulation the accused is alleged to have violated.
C. 
Charges shall be signed and certified as follows: "I hereby certify that, to the best of the best of my knowledge, information and belief of, the person making the charge, the statements contained therein are true foregoing statement made by me. I am aware that if any of the forgoing statements made by me are wailfully false, I am subject to punishment."
D. 
Basic considerations. The following basic considerations apply to any action upon a charge or with respect to a suspected offense:
(1) 
No person subject to the chapter may interrogate or request any statement from an accused without first informing him of the nature of the accusation and advising him that he does not have to make any statement regarding the offense of which he is accused or suspected and that any statement made by him may be used as evidence against him in a hearing by the Board of Fire Officers.
(2) 
Prior to being requested to make any written or oral statement, an accused shall have been advised that he has the right to consult with counsel and to have counsel present at and during the hearing of the Board of Fire Officers.
(3) 
Upon receipt by the Board of Fire Offices of charges as described heretofore, the Board shall cause a notice in writing to be served on the officer or member against whom the charge has been made, by certified mail, return receipt requested, informing him of the nature of the charges and directing him to appear before and Board of Fire Officers at the time and place to be specified therein to answer said charges.
(4) 
At the conclusion of the hearing, findings are to be borough before the Mayor. The Board of Fire Officers shall determine the guilt or innocence of the accused and shall, by resolution, reprimand, suspend or dismiss, the said officer or member from the Department or exonerate him from the charges or make other such decisions as may seem just and proper under the circumstances and as permitted by this chapter. A complainant and/or witness who is also a member of the Board shall be disqualified from sitting on the Board for the case in which he is the complainant and/or witness.
A. 
Opportunity to present and support contentions. Both side are entitled to an opportunity to properly present and support their respective contentions upon any question or matter presented to the Board for decision. However, the right to present testimony or argument should not be abused, and the presiding officer of the Board may, as a matter of discretion, limit or refuse to hear testimony or argument when it is trivial, repetitious, or made for the purpose of delay.
B. 
Explanation of rights of accused. An accused who is not represented by legally qualified counsel should be advised of his rights to remain silent, testify as a witness, or make a statement, as appropriate at the proper stages of a trial. When an accused is represented by legal qualified counsel, it may be assumed that he has been correctly advised of these rights, and it is unnecessary to inquire if the accused has been so advised or to explain the right of the accused.
C. 
Introduction of evidence.
(1) 
Witnesses are usually examined in the following order:
(a) 
Witnesses for the prosecution.
(b) 
Witnesses for the defense.
(c) 
Witnesses for the prosecution in rebuttal.
(d) 
Witnesses for the defense in rebuttal.
(e) 
Witnesses for the Board.
(2) 
The order of examining each witness is usually: direct examination, cross-examination, redirect examination, re-cross-examination, and examination by the Board.
D. 
Responsibility of the Board. The Board is not obliged to content itself with the evidence adduced by the parties. When that evidence appears to be insufficient for a proper determination of the matter before it or when not satisfied that it has received all available admissible evidence on an issue before it, the Board may take appropriate action with a view to obtaining available additional evidence. The Board may, for instance, require the recall of a witness, summon new witnesses, or make an investigation or inquiry along certain lines with a view to discovering and producing additional evidence. In doing so, however, the Board must be careful not to depart from an impartial role.
E. 
Decisions of the Board. At the conclusions of testimony and argument, the presiding officer shall, in all cases in which a not guilty plea has been entered, remind the Board:
(1) 
That the accused must be presumed to be innocent until his guilt is established by legal and competent evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.
(2) 
That in the case being considered, if there is a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused, the doubt must be resolved in favor of the accused, and he must be acquitted.
(3) 
That this burden of proof to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt is upon the accuser.
A. 
General. The following principles apply to findings made by the Board of Fire Officers:
(1) 
Basis of findings: Only matters properly before the Board as a whole may be considered. A member should not, for instance, be influenced by any knowledge of the acts, character, or service of the accused not based on the evidence or other proper matter before the Board; by any opinions not properly in evidence; or by motives of partiality, favor, or affection.
(2) 
Weighing evidence: In weighing the evidence, a member is expected to utilize his common sense and his knowledge of human nature and of the ways of the world. In the light of all the circumstances of the case, he should consider the inherent probability or improbability of the evidence and, with this in mind, he may properly believe one witness and disbelieve several witnesses whose testimony is in conflict with that of one.
(3) 
Reasonable doubt: In order to convict of an offense, the Board must be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty thereof.
(a) 
"Reasonable doubt" is not to be a fanciful or ingenious doubt or conjecture, but substantial, honest, conscious doubt suggested by the material evidence, or lack of it, in the case. It is an honest, substantial misgiving, generated by insufficiency of proof of guilt.
(b) 
It is not a captious doubt, nor a doubt suggested by the ingenuity of counsel and unwarranted by the testimony, nor a doubt born of a merciful inclination to permit the accused to escape conviction, nor a doubt prompted by sympathy for him or those connected with him. The meaning of the rule is that the proof must be such as to exclude not every hypothesis except that of guilt; what is required is not absolute or mathematical certainty but a moral certainty.
(c) 
The rule as to reasonable doubt extends to every element of the offense. It is not necessary that each particular fact advanced by the prosecution be proved beyond a reasonable doubt; it is sufficient to warrant conviction if, on the whole evidence, the Board is satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty. A reasonable doubt may arise from the insufficiency of direct as well as circumstantial evidence. There is no general rule for contrasting the weight of direct and circumstantial evidence. The rule as to reasonable doubt applies equally to cases supported by direct evidence and those in which the only competent evidence is circumstantial.
B. 
Findings as to the charges.
(1) 
General: Permissible findings include guilty or not guilty or guilty of an included offense as stated below. The findings as to a specific charge should be consistent throughout. A finding of guilty without criminality should not be made. When two or more accused are tried jointly, the findings as to each accused should be stated separately.
(2) 
Included offenses: If the evidence fails to prove the offense charged, but does prove the commission of an offense necessarily included in that charge or of an attempt to commit the offense charged or of an offense necessarily included therein, the Board may find the accused guilty of the included offense or attempt, as the case may be.
(3) 
Offenses arising out of the same act or transaction: The accused may be found guilty of two or more offenses arising out of the same act or transaction, without regard to whether the offenses are separate.
C. 
Procedures for hearings.
(1) 
General: In every case tried by the Board, the members must vote on the findings. At the conclusion of the evidence and argument, the Board will close to deliberate and vote on the findings. Only the members of the Board will be present. Deliberation may properly include full and free discussion as to the merits of the case. The influence of superiority in rank shall not be employed in any manner in an attempt to control the independence of members in the exercise of their judgment.
(2) 
Voting: Voting shall be by secret written ballot, and is obligatory for all charges being considered by the Board. The order in which several charges are to be voted upon will ordinarily be determined by the presiding officer, subject to the objection of a majority of the Board. The members normally vote upon a charge by marking on their ballot; "guilty;" "not guilty;" or "not guilty, but guilty of _____". The junior member of the Board shall count the votes. The count shall be checked by the presiding officer, who shall forthwith announce the result of the ballot to the members of the Board.
(3) 
Number of votes required: No person may be convicted of an offense, except by the concurrence of 2/3 of the members present at the time the vote is taken. If, in computing the number of votes required, a fraction results, the fraction will be counted as one; thus, if five members are to vote, a requirement that 2/3 concur is not met unless four concur. A finding of not guilty results as to any charge if no other valid finding is reached thereon.
D. 
Announcing the findings. As soon as the Board has determined the findings in a case, it will announce them in open session in the presence of counsel and the accused. Only the required percentage of members who concurred in findings of guilty should be announced.
A. 
General. After the findings of guilty have been announced, the Board may hear appropriate matters to aid it in determining the kind and amount of punishment to be imposed, such as details as to aggravation, prior service and evidence of previous convictions, which evidence is not limited to offenses similar to the one of which the accused stands convicted, but must, however, relate to offenses committed during the five years next preceding the commission of any offense of which the accused stands convicted.
B. 
Matter presented by the defense:
(1) 
General. Whether or not it introduced evidence on the issue of guilt or innocence, the defense may, after findings of guilt are announced and before the Board closes to vote on the sentence, introduce matter in extenuation or mitigation. With respect to matter in extenuation and mitigation offered by the defense, the presiding officer may relax the rules of evidence to the extent of receiving affidavits and other writings of similar apparent authenticity and reliability.
(2) 
Statement of accused: Whether or not he testified on the issue of guilt or innocence or as to matters in extenuation or mitigation, the accused may make an unsworn statement to the Board in mitigation or extenuation of the offenses of which he stands convicted. The statement may be oral or in writing, or both. It may be made by the accused, by counsel, or by both.
(3) 
Matter in extenuation: Matter in extenuation of an offense serves to explain the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offense, including the reasons that actuated the accused but not extending to a legal justification or excuse.
(4) 
Matter in mitigation: Matter in mitigation has for its purpose the lessening of the punishment to be assigned by the Board or the furnishing of grounds for a recommendation for clemency. Matter in mitigation may include particular acts of good conduct or bravery. It may exhibit the reputation or record of the accused in the service for efficiency, fidelity, subordination, temperance, courage, or any other traits that go to make a good officer or member.
A. 
General procedure: While deliberating on an appropriate sentence, each member of the Board may consider all matters in extenuation and mitigation as well as those in aggravation, whether introduced before or after the findings; evidence admitted as to the background and character of the accused; and the reputation or record of the accused in the Department for good conduct, efficiency, fidelity, courage, bravery, or other traits of good character.
B. 
Deliberation and voting:
(1) 
The Board sits in closed session during deliberation and voting on the sentence. Only members of the Board will be present. Deliberation may properly include full and free discussion. The influence of superiority in rank shall not be employed in any manner in an attempt to control the independence of members in the exercise of their judgment.
(2) 
When the discussion is complete, any member who desires to propose a sentence writes his proposal on a slip of paper. The junior member collects these proposed sentences and submits them to the presiding officer. The Board then votes on the proposed sentences, beginning with the lightest, until a sentence is adopted by the concurrence of the required number of members. Voting is by secret written ballot. The junior member shall in each case collect and count the votes. They shall be checked by the presiding officer, who shall forthwith announce the results of the ballots to the members of the Board.
(3) 
It is the duty of each member to vote for a proper sentence for the offense or offenses of which the accused has been found guilty, without regard to his opinion or vote as to the guilt or innocence of the accused. Any sentence must have the concurrence of the required number of members.
C. 
Number of votes required: All sentences shall be determined by the concurrence of the majority of the members present at the time the vote is taken.
D. 
Announcing the sentence: As soon as the Board has determined the sentence, the presiding officer will announce it in open session in the presence of the accused. Only the required percentage of members who concurred in the sentence should be announced.
A. 
In all cases of conviction, the Board of Fire Officers shall adjudge a punishment appropriate to the circumstance of the case, which punishment may include one or more of the following:
(1) 
Reprimand.
(2) 
Suspension.
(3) 
Expulsion.
B. 
Punishment should also be forwarded to the office of the Mayor.
A. 
In all cases wherein a person has been adjudged guilty of a violation of the rules and regulations of this Department and no subsequent conviction has been entered against such person, it shall be lawful after the lapse of five years from the date of such conviction for the person so adjudge guilty to present an application to the Board of Fire Officers, setting forth all the facts in the matter and praying for the relief provided for herein.
B. 
Upon reading and filing such application, the Board shall fix a time for the hearing of the matter. At the time so appointed, the Board shall hear the matter and, if no material objection is made and no reason appears to the contrary, an order may be granted directing the expungement from the records all evidence of said conviction. All expungement of records shall be determined by the concurrence of a majority of the members present at the time the vote is taken.
A. 
Exempt status: Each fire fighter who shall present satisfactory evidence to the Mayor that he or she has attended at least 60% of the fires occurring in the Township while he or she was a fire fighter in the Township, and that he or she has served in each year for at least seven years as an active fire fighter, shall be entitled to a certificate signed by the Mayor, Township Clerk, and Fire Chief, and shall be entitled to wear such badge as shall be designed and supplied by the Township of Saddle Brook and shall be considered an exempt fire fighter of the Saddle Brook Fire Department.
(1) 
Twenty-five-year status: Each fireman who has served the Township for 25 years shall be entitled to wear a lapel badge so designed by the Fire Department.
(2) 
Fifty-year status: Each fireman who has served the Township for 50 years shall be entitled to wear a regular gold badge so designed by the Fire Department.
B. 
Any awards authorized by the Board of Fire Officers may be worn on the uniform.
Clothing allowance will be given to all members of the Department. The amount will be decided yearly by the fire budget and shall be paid no later than the 15th of December.
A. 
The Captain and Lieutenant of each company shall make a report to the Battalion Chief of all services rendered by that company in response to an alarm. The Battalion Chief in turn shall make a report to the Chief or Assistant Chief of the Fire Department, or their designee, of all such services rendered by his company in response to an alarm. The Battalion Chief shall keep a record of the names of the members responding to roll call upon arriving at headquarters.
B. 
The Officer or Acting Officer for each company shall make out the company fire report immediately upon return to company headquarters.
A. 
Leave of absence. A member may request, in writing to his company, a leave of absence from the Department for personal reasons. He may request this leave of absence for up to a three-month period. If more time is needed, he may request up to another three months. A limit of six months' leave, in any twelve-month period is all the time that will be allowed by the company. If a member requires more than six months leave of absence in a twelve-month period, he must make such request in writing to the Board of Fire Officers of the Department. No member while on leave of absence will have a vote in the Department.
B. 
Sick leave.
(1) 
A member may request, in writing to his company, a sick leave from the Department for health reasons. A doctor's certificate must be presented before this leave may be granted. The Fire Chief or, in his absence, the Assistant Fire Chief will be notified of the sick leave within 48 hours.
(2) 
The Fire Chief or the Board of Fire Officers has the absolute right to request any member of the Fire Department who is either requesting sick leave or requesting to return from sick leave to be examined by the Township Physician or physician authorized by the Township administration.
C. 
No member granted a leave of absence or sick leave will be permitted to participate in any firematic duties.
D. 
A member who is hurt in the line of duty and is on sick leave shall have the right to vote in the Department and may not be expelled because of permanent injuries.
E. 
Military leave. Any member who completed probationary period and who has maintained active-duty status may request a military leave of absence for the length of time necessary to serve this country. This member shall not lose any status in past rank and will receive any remuneration that the member would normally have received.
The widow or minor children of a member killed in the line of duty will receive the maximum pension allowed by local ordinance, state and federal statutes.
A. 
The Department uniform shall be a four-button, double-breasted jacket with pants and round hat. It shall include: white shirt, black tie, black belt, black shoes, and black socks.
B. 
Any patches or insignias authorized by the Saddle Brook Fire Department may be worn on the uniform.
C. 
Uniforms will be worn as prescribed by the Chief, Assistant Chief or company Battalion Chief.
D. 
Junior members: see Appendix B.[1]
[1]:
Editor's Note: Appendix B is on file in the Township's offices.
E. 
Supplemental active members: see Appendix C.[2]
[2]:
Editor's Note: Appendix C is on file in the Township's offices.
Every accident, either to person or property, shall be immediately reported to the company officer in charge at the time, who shall make a complete and detailed report to the Fire Chief within 24 hours.
A. 
In the event of such emergency, any fire company or companies, with their apparatus, may be directed to respond to any out-of-town alarms for the purpose of assisting in the protection or preservation of life or property in any other municipality when requested to do so by the Mayor and/or his designee.
B. 
All members of this Department are, as a result of their membership herein, hereby obligated and authorized to respond while off-duty to any fire or other emergency and act to save life or property, whether or not such fire or emergency shall take place within the Township of Saddle Brook or outside the Township of Saddle Brook.
All firemen in good standing, except those on probation, may transfer within the Fire Department.
A. 
Application of transfer must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from the previous fire department, stating the following: number of years of service, state line number, and a list of firematic schools completed. All firemen transferring from another fire department shall be required to serve a twelve-month probationary period and attend the necessary firematic schools as required pursuant to this chapter for new personnel. Credit will be given for any and all schools attended while serving as a member of another fire department. If a transferee has three years or 36 months of service as a member in good standing as a fireman in any other fire department, he may be exempt from school upon meeting the following conditions:
(1) 
Make application for waiver of school request to the respective company Officer, company's Battalion Chief or his designee.
(2) 
Demonstrate and provide adequate proof of firematic aptitude to the satisfaction of said company's Battalion Chief or his designee.
B. 
In order for a transferee to be eligible to run for any elected firematic office, he must serve as a member of the Saddle Brook Fire Department a minimum of 36 months, and has attended a minimum of 50% of his fire duty pursuant to this chapter for the 11 months preceding his or her election. Transferees shall not carry forward or retain any rank in any other fire department.
C. 
Any Saddle Brook fireman who resigns from the Saddle Brook Fire Department for more than 12 months and wishes to return as a member of the Saddle Brook Fire Department will serve a one-year probationary period. He will be given credit for any rank he has previously held in the Saddle Brook Fire Department, but no credit will be given for any rank held in any other fire department.
A. 
Active members — see Appendix A.
B. 
Junior active junior members — see Appendix B.
C. 
Active supplemental active members — see Appendix C.
[1]:
Editor's Note: Appendixes A, B and C, referenced in this section, are on file in the Township's offices
A. 
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
FIREMATIC DUTY
Any duty sanctioned by the Fire Department, company, or any officer.
MEMBER IN GOOD STANDING
A member in good standing must attend as many wash nights as stated in company bylaws.
(1) 
Active member who attends a minimum of 40% of his firematic duties. An active member who has not attended 40% of his firematic duties shall be notified of said deficiency as of April 1, July 1 and October 1, if applicable, said notice to be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested.
(2) 
Active life member who attends a minimum of 20% of his firematic duties. An active life member who has not attended 20% of his firematic duties shall be notified of said deficiency as of April 1, July 1 and October 1, if applicable, said notice to be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested.
PLURALITY VOTE
Number of votes in an election that the leading candidate obtains over his or her nearest rival.
SENIORITY
A determination first by the time in grade (rank) and by time in service.
B. 
For the purposes of this chapter, "he", "she", "his" or "him" refers to any member regardless of gender.
The Board of Fire Officers and one representative from each company shall review this chapter every five years and bring suggested changes to the attention of the membership for ratification.