New Hartford Volunteer Fire Department

New Hartford, Connecticut

 

 

New Hartford Volunteer Fire Department

CONSTITUTIONAL BYLAWS

 

 

Table of Contents

 

 

I. Name & Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

II. Membership. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

III. Membership Types . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

IV. Companies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

V. Officers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5

VI. Duties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

VII. Attendance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7

VIII. Committees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

IX. Standards of Conduct and Discipline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9

X. Grievance Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..9

XI. Elections & Appointments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

XII. Meetings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

XIII. Dissolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

XIV. Order of Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

XV. Oath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

XVI. Amendments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONSTITUTIONAL BY-LAWS

 

ARTICLE I

NAME & ORGANIZATION

 

SECTION 1.  This organization shall be known as the NEW HARTFORD VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT, INC. (herein also called the Department).

 

SECTION 1a. This organization was formed July 4, 1832, reorganized April 24, 1889, and the New Hartford Village Fire District was formed December 19, 1893.

 

SECTION 1b.  The purpose of this organization shall be to aid and assist any person in the New Hartford Village Fire District (herein called "the District") or the adjoining communities in case of fire, other emergency, and in fire prevention education.

 

SECTION 1c.  The New Hartford Fire Volunteer Department Inc. shall not discriminate against members, companies, or individuals on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, gender orientation, religion, or national origin.

 

ARTICLE II

MEMBERSHIP

 

SECTION 1.  Any person age 18 and over, who resides in the First Voting District of the Town of New Hartford or is the owner of property situated within the limits of said District or is regularly full-time employed within said District and is available for response to calls during hours of employment, or resides in one of the surrounding towns adjoining the District and within five (5) miles of the First Voting District, is eligible for new membership in the Department.

 

Section 2.  Any person between the ages of 15 to 17 who resides anywhere in the town of New Hartford may apply for membership as a Cadet. Cadet applicants living outside of the town of New Hartford may only apply if one of their parents is an active member of the department. Said application can be made during the month that they turn 15 or older. They may not respond to calls until after they turn 15 and have met the standards and guidelines as specified by the membership committee and applicable regulatory bodies.

 

SECTION 3.  Applicants for membership shall submit a written application.  The application for membership shall be presented, to the Membership Committee.  All Cadet Applications shall be signed by a parent or legal guardian.

 

SECTION 4.  All applications for membership must be reviewed by the Membership Committee prior to submittal to the membership of the Department.  The review of the applicant must include a personal interview with the applicant, attended by a majority of the Membership Committee.  The applicant must authorize a background investigation.  A background investigation shall include a criminal record check and interviews of references and employers. Once the background check and the interview is completed, then the application, signed by a majority of the Membership Committee, must be returned to the Secretary at the next regular meeting with their report on the acceptability of the applicant, for vote by the membership.  Each candidate shall be voted on individually at a regular meeting.

 

SECTION 5.  A majority vote of the members at said regular meeting shall, after reviewing the report of the Membership Committee, accept or reject all applications.  The applicant will be notified of preliminary membership approval.

 

SECTION 6.  The Membership Committee of the New Hartford Fire Department shall monitor the progress of a probationary member. The Membership Committee has the authority and the right to reject any application and/or remove any member from the department during the probationary period for any reason including a failed background check.

 

SECTION 7.  All newly elected applicants shall serve in the position of Probationary Member for a period of one (1) year.  The Membership Committee shall keep a record of all Probationary Members and notify the Chiefs when the probationary period has been completed.  Each Probationary Member must adhere to the attendance, training requirements, and standards of conduct and discipline as outlined in these Bylaws.  Each Probationary Member must also have passed the required physical examination before receiving gear, participating in drills, or responding to calls.  If the preceding requirements are not met within the probationary period, the Probationary Member shall not be recommended to full membership.

 

SECTION 8.  At the end of the probationary period, the membership committee shall recommend to the Chief and Deputy Chief whether or not the Probationary Member is to be removed from probationary status.  The Chief and Deputy Chief will make the final determination as to the Probationary Member’s status.  If it is determined that the Probationary Member is not yet ready for full membership, the Chief and Deputy Chief may elect to either dismiss the Probationary Member, or extend the probationary period for a term of not more than twelve (12) months.

 

Once accepted as a full member, the Chief will advise the Department of the upgraded status of the Probationary Member at the next regular Department meeting.

 

SECTION 9.  If at any time a member fails to maintain the training and/or physical requirements of their position; or it is the consensus of the Department Line Officers that a members is unfit to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of their position within the department; that member will receive a letter from the Department’s Chief notifying them of their suspension due to failure to meet the minimum requirements.  The member will then have thirty (30) days to provide an adequate response before discharge from the Department at the consensus of the Department’s Line Officers.  Upon discharge, the member will be notified in writing of their discharge along with instructions to return all Department property

 

SECTION 10.  A member removed from the Department roster, shall not be restored to said roster unless he/she reapplies for membership to the Membership Committee following a three (3) month waiting period.  Said application shall then be processed in accordance with above sections.  If the action of the department members is to accept, the member need not serve the probation requirements of a new member.

 

 

ARTICLE III

MEMBERSHIP TYPES

 

   SECTION 1.    PROBATIONARY MEMBER:

 

All newly elected members must serve a probationary period specified in Article II of these Bylaws.

 

   SECTION 2.    FIREFIGHTER:

 

All firefighters must adhere to the Department’s interior structural firefighter policy; including successful completion of Firefighter 1 training and the applicable OSHA standards for fire brigades, personal protective clothing, and respiratory protection.  It shall be the duty of FIREFIGHTERS to be capable of, willing, and able to perform interior structural firefighting, and other tasks expected of trained fire fighters (raising ladders, advancing hoselines, ventilation, salvage and overhaul as well as vehicle rescue, water rescue, hazardous materials incidents at the operational level etc.) in compliance with OSHA standards for interior structural firefighting.

 

   SECTION 3.    EXTERIOR FIREFIGHTER

 

Exterior firefighters shall successfully complete applicable training, and be willing, and physically able to perform specified duties in accordance with department policy.

 

SECTION 4.       EMERGENCY SUPPORT TEAM

 

Emergency support team members should provide assistance to the Department at both emergency and non-emergency incidents, drills, meetings and any other Department event.  Emergency support team members should not perform any tasks for which they are not trained to do and should follow the direction of the incident commander or officer in charge.

 

   SECTION 5.    DRIVER/PUMP OPERATOR:

 

Driver/Pump Operator personnel not otherwise authorized to perform the duties of a Firefighter shall receive equipment specific training per the Department’s policies, and be willing and able to drive and operate the apparatus on which they have successfully completed training in accordance with department policy.  Drivers shall hold the appropriate State license for the apparatus they are operating, and operate vehicles in a safe and responsible manner at all times.

 

   SECTION 6.    FIRE POLICE

 

Fire Police personnel shall be trained, willing, and able to perform all duties relative to traffic and crowd control at an incident in accordance with department policy.

 

   SECTION 7.    FIRE CADET:

 

Fire Cadet personnel are members aged 15 to 17 years old.  It shall be the duty of the Fire Cadets to supplement the fire department as so ordered by the Incident Commander.  All activities with Cadets will comply with the laws and regulations established by the State of Connecticut for the labor of minors and department policies. Cadets have full voting privileges.

 

   SECTION 8.    ASSOCIATE MEMBER:

 

Associate Members are any member of the fire department whose duties are not directly involved with emergency response.

 

   SECTION 9.    LIFETIME MEMBERS:

 

Any member in good standing after serving fifteen (15) years is eligible to be a Lifetime Member upon request.  In the event a member in good standing can no longer act in the capacity of a regular member due to life circumstances, upon approval of the membership they will be retained on Lifetime status if so desired.  Lifetime Members shall have the same Department privileges as those of a full member except that he/she shall have no vote at any meeting of the Department or cannot respond to emergency calls.

 

 

ARTICLE IV

COMPANIES

 

The Department shall consist of at least one firefighting company at each station.  The size, number and composition of the companies shall be determined by a consensus of the line officers. The number of companies as well as the number of Captains and Lieutenants shall be announced each year by the June business meeting to give candidates who are applying for the position of Captain and Lieutenant time to submit their letter of intent and qualifications to the Credentials Review Committee.

 

 

 

ARTICLE V

OFFICERS

 

SECTION 1.  The Officers of the Department shall consist of three (3) types of Officers; Staff Officers, Line Officers, and Training Officers.

 

SECTION 1a.  The Staff Officers of the Department shall consist of the President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.

 

SECTION 1b.  The Line Officers of the Department shall consist of a minimum of the following:

One Fire Chief, appointed by the New Hartford Village Fire District.

One Deputy Fire Chief, appointed by the New Hartford Village Fire District

One Captain for each of the Department’s Stations.

 One Lieutenant for each of the Department’s firefighting companies.

 

SECTION 1c.  A Training Officer shall be appointed by the Chief and approved by membership.  The Training Officer shall serve with the rank of line Lieutenant or greater.

 

* In lieu of a Training Officer, the department Officer Corp may, at its option, act as a Training Division.

 

 

ARTICLE VI

DUTIES

 

SECTION 1.

 

* The duties of the Fire Chief are as determined by the New Hartford Village Fire District.

 

SECTION 2.  The duties of the Deputy Chief are as determined by the New Hartford Village Fire District.

 

SECTION 3.  It shall be the duties of each Station Captain to be responsible to the Chief for all members, apparatus and equipment of companies quartered in their respective station at all times.  These duties include (but are not limited to) the following:

 

* To assure that all manpower, apparatus and equipment of their Station are adequately prepared and in good order;

* It shall be the responsibility of the most senior Captain, as determined by time in grade, to discharge the duties of the Deputy Chief in his absence;

* To oversee the general upkeep and overall appearance of their assigned Station.

 

SECTION 4.  It shall be the duties of each LIEUTENANT to be responsible to the respective Station Captain for all members, apparatus and equipment of their company at all times.  These duties include (but are not limited to) the following:

 

* To assure that all company personnel are adequately prepared to execute their duties;

* It shall be the responsibility of the most senior Lieutenant, as determined by time in grade, to discharge the duties of the Captain in his absence.

 

SECTION 5.  It shall be the duty of the TRAINING OFFICER (or Training Division) to oversee all Department training.  These duties include (but are not limited to) the following:

 

* To coordinate and oversee all Department drills;

* To maintain training records for all department members;

* To inform members of outside training classes;

* To keep the Chief advised of the department training status.

* To ensure training compliance with the appropriate regulatory agencies.

 

SECTION 6.  It shall be the duty of the QUARTERMASTER to be responsible for issuing and keeping a record of all departmental personnel’s equipment and uniforms.  He shall also be responsible for recovering all issued Departmental property from exiting members.   The Department will issue each of its members NFPA compliant personal protective and other gear in accordance with that member’s assigned duties and functions.

 

SECTION 7.  ENGINEERS shall be responsible to the Chief for all apparatus to which they are assigned and maintain it in a neat, responsible, and workable order.  Engineers shall conduct a mechanical check of the apparatus to a schedule set forth by the line officers of the Department.

 

SECTION 8.  It shall be the duty of the PRESIDENT to preside at all Department meetings; to call special meetings as required; to appoint all special committees and to cast the deciding vote on all matters before the Department for action in the event of a tie.  The President has the authority to represent the Department in all business matters.

 

SECTION 9.  It shall be the duty of the VICE PRESIDENT to discharge the duties of the President in his absence and has the authority to represent the Department in all business matters.

 

SECTION 10.  The SECRETARY shall call the roll, record attendance, and keep minutes of all department meetings.  They shall report monthly to the Department or when called upon by the President.  They shall maintain a copy of the Roll of Membership and maintain a Roll of Lifetime Members.  The Secretary is also responsible for department correspondence.

 

SECTION 11.  The TREASURER shall:

* Receive all monies of the Department and deposit same in the name of the Department;

* Pay all bills approved by the membership;

* Maintain sufficient documentation supporting all receipts and disbursements and submit the same to the Auditing Committee upon request;

* Report the financial status to the Department monthly, including all financial transactions;

* Render a detailed report in writing at the Annual Meeting;

* Pay all Department bills by check signed by any two of the Treasurer, the President,  Vice-President, or Secretary;

* Require the chairpersons of all fund raising and social events to prepare and submit a report detailing the total funds advanced from the Department, collected in receipts, expended and any funds remaining after the close of that event.  The report is to include documentation supporting all receipts and disbursements and is to be submitted, with any outstanding funds, within one month after the close of the event.

 

ARTICLE VII

ATTENDANCE

 

SECTION 1.  All members except as noted below are expected to attend a minimum of fifty percent (50%) of regular meetings and drills per calendar year.  Any member not adhering to this policy will be considered an inactive member.  The member will receive a letter from the Department’s President indicating their failure to meet the minimum attendance.  The member will then have thirty (30) days to provide an adequate response before discharge from the Department at the consensus of the Department’s line officers.  Upon discharge, the inactive member will be notified in writing of their discharge along with instructions to return all Department property.

 

SECTION 1a.  Driver/Pump Operators are only required to attend specific pump operator drills and an annual qualification test.

 

SECTION 1b.  Associate members must attend fifty percent (50%) of the Department meetings per calendar year.

 

SECTION 2.  Excused Absences:  Any member who, for valid reasons, is unable to attend regular meetings and drills must notify an officer of the department in order to receive an excusal.  Any member who, for valid reasons, is unable to attend regular meetings and drills for an extended period may, by submitting a letter to the President, receive an excusal from meetings and drills during the period in which the valid reason exists.  Specific excusals must be renewed on an annual basis.  This letter is to be presented at a regular meeting of the Department and placed on file with the Secretary.  Members so excused are expected to attend all other Department functions not affected by their excused absence.

 

 

ARTICLE VIII

COMMITTEES

 

SECTION 1.  There shall be seven (7) standing committees:  an Auditing Committee, a Membership Committee, a Social Committee, a Grievance Committee, a Credentials Review Committee, a Bylaws Committee and a Fund Raising Committee.  Each committee shall elect its own Chairman.  The Committees shall be established at each Annual Meeting.  Persons interested in a committee shall notify the Chief and Deputy Chief prior to the Annual Meeting.  The Chief shall announce the committees at the Annual Meeting.  The Chief and the Deputy Chief shall have the authority to add or remove members of committees throughout the year.

 

SECTION 1a.  The AUDITING COMMITTEE shall have three (3) members and may audit the accounts and records of the Treasurer at any time.  They must make an audit in the month prior to the Annual Meeting and report such audit at the Annual Meeting.  The audit must be signed by each member of the Committee.  The Auditing Committee shall consider the need for a review or audit of the Department’s financial records by an independent accountant or CPA and report their recommendation in this regard to the membership at the Annual Meeting.

 

SECTION 1b.  The MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE shall have a minimum of three (3) members and is responsible for performing an initial interview of prospective members.  The Membership Committee shall then advise the membership of the qualifications of applicants for membership and report favorably or unfavorably to the members at a regular meeting of the Department.

 

SECTION 1c.  The SOCIAL COMMITTEE shall have a minimum of three (3) members and complete charge of all social functions of the Department and shall work for good fellowship amongst the members.

 

SECTION 1d.  The GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE shall investigate any dispute or disagreement, which threatens the welfare, efficiency or operations of the Department and report their recommendations as required under these Bylaws.  The Grievance Committee shall have three (3) members. Members are expected to follow a procedure for filing a grievance as outlined in Article X.

 

SECTION 1e.  The CREDENTIALS REVIEW COMMITTEE shall have three (3) members and have the authority to collect all information and records applicable to candidates for Chief, Deputy Chief, and Line Officers.  This committee shall work to confirm that the candidates for these positions have the required experience and training as detailed below.  The committee shall notify the President of their findings.

 

The committee shall submit to the New Hartford Fire District Commission, the names of candidates for Chief and/or Deputy Chief, by the first business day of July in an election year for those positions. Line Officers eligibility to run must be determined at least thirty days prior the Annual Meeting

 

SECTION 1f.  The BYLAWS COMMITTEE shall have a minimum of three (3) members and is responsible for overseeing the review and revision of the Bylaws of the Department.  The Bylaws shall be reviewed annually and revised as deemed necessary.

 

SECTION 1g.  The FUND RAISING COMMITTEE shall have a minimum of three (3) members and shall organize all fund raising events of the Department. They shall present a complete report of the revenues and expenses of each event in writing to the membership after the completion of such event.

 

SECTION 2.  The President or Chief or majority of the membership present at the regular monthly meeting may appoint a Special Committee, as they deem necessary.

 

ARTICLE IX

STANDARDS OF CONDUCT AND DISCIPLINE

 

SECTION 1.  All Members of the New Hartford Fire Department are expected to uphold the values and mores of the community and abide by the laws of the state and the discipline and conduct policy of the department.  Disciplinary actions (other than those covered in this section) shall only be taken at the discretion of the Chief or consensus of the line officers in accordance with this article of these Bylaws, and/or, where deemed sufficiently serious by the Chief, and/or upon the advice of the Fire District Commission.

 

ARTICLE X

GRIEVANCE PROCESS

 

SECTION 1.  All conflicts between members shall follow the chain of command before filing a formal grievance.  The Grievance Committee will not review or act on any grievance for which the Chief has not been appropriately involved.

 

SECTION 2.  Any member can file a formal grievance.  The grievance process must be commenced by submitting, within seven (7) calendar days of the occurrence of such incident, a written notice of grievance to the lowest applicable level of the respective chain-of-command.

 

SECTION 3.  The Grievance Committee will perform the following upon receipt of a formal grievance:

 

* The Chairman of the Committee will notify all involved parties and the Chief within seven (7) calendar days that a formal grievance has been filed, by telephone, email or in writing

* The Committee will initiate and investigate each grievance within thirty (30) calendar days from the date the grievance is submitted

* Upon completion of the grievance investigation, the Committee shall submit their written findings to all involved parties and the Chief.

* Findings of the grievance committee will be acted upon, in accordance with these Bylaws by the Chief and/or his/her designee.

 

ARTICLE XI

ELECTIONS and APPOINTMENTS

 

SECTION 1.  The CHIEF OFFICERS shall be appointed by the New Hartford Fire District.

 

SECTION 2.  The Captain(s) and Lieutenant(s) shall be appointed annually by the Chief at the Annual Meeting.  Candidates shall submit a letter of intent identifying all positions for which the candidate would like to be considered along with a resume of their training and experience to the Credentials Committee sixty (60) days before the election.  During the sixty days prior to the Annual Meeting, the Chief shall implement a selection process that may include interviews or oral boards for the candidates.

 

SECTION 2a.  It is required that candidates for Captain have a minimum of three (3) years line experience with at least one (1) year in the New Hartford Volunteer Fire Department, have held a line officers position in a Department for a minimum of one (1) year, and have successfully completed Fire Service Instructor I. Fire Officer I certification is suggested but not required. They will acquire 15-hours of training outside of the department annually.

 

SECTION 2b.  It is required that all candidates for Lieutenant have a minimum of two (2) years line experience with at least one (1) year in the New Hartford Volunteer Fire Department and have successfully completed Firefighter II training. Fire Service Instructor I is preferred but not required. They will acquire 10-hours of training outside of the department annually.

 

 

SECTION 3.  STAFF OFFICER   The members of the department shall cast their ballot for the above positions in the following order: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.    Successful candidates of higher level positions within that category shall be removed from the ballot(s) of lower positions within that category.

 

SECTION 4.  No one may hold more than one position within the categories of Staff or Line Officer.  However, one may hold a position as both a Staff and Line Officer.

 

SECTION 5.  Any elected staff officer may be removed for cause by a two-thirds vote of the members present at a regular or special meeting of the Department.  A line officer may be removed for cause by the Chief.

 

SECTION 6. Voting Eligibility

SECTION 6a. Only members in good standing as outlined in Article II, Section 9 are eligible to vote.

SECTION 6b. Probationary members cannot vote in an election.

SECTION 6c. Members must be present to vote in an election. Absentee ballots are not permitted.

SECTION 6d. Junior members in good standing may vote in all departmental matters.

 

 

ARTICLE XII

MEETINGS

 

SECTION 1.  The meetings of this Department shall consist of eleven (11) regular meetings and one (1) Annual Meeting.

 

SECTION 2.  The regular meeting of the Department shall be held on the 1st Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at a location to be designated by the President.

 

SECTION 2a.  The regular meeting may be changed to the following Monday, in the event it falls on a holiday.

 

SECTION 2b.  Any meeting may be rescheduled or cancelled by the President or their designee.

 

SECTION 3.  The President may call special meetings of the Department at any time upon giving a five (5) day notice by telephone, email or in writing to each member of the Department.

 

SECTION 4.  The President or Chief may call an emergency meeting of the Department, upon giving a 24-hour notice by telephone or e-mail to each member. However, such meetings are considered to be for communication purposes and no Department business may be transacted at such meeting.

 

SECTION 5.  Twenty-five percent (25%) of the total membership shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any regular meeting of the Department.  Fifty percent (50%) of the total membership shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at the Annual Meeting of the Department.  Total members are defined as all firefighters, fire police, Junior and associate members currently in good standing with the Department as to attendance and conduct.

 

SECTION 5a.  Cadets are eligible to participate in all Department meetings and business including voting.

 

 

ARTICLE XIII

DISSOLUTION

 

In the event of the dissolution of the New Hartford Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., any and all monies held in savings accounts, checking accounts, or in accounts receivable is to be turned over to the New Hartford Village Fire District of the Town of New Hartford, Connecticut.

 

 

ARTICLE XIV

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

At all meetings, the order of business shall be as follows:

1. Roll Call

2. Pledge of Allegiance

3. Report of Preceding Meeting

4. Treasurer’s Report

5. Chief’s Report

6. Station Reports

7. Training Officer Report

8. Quartermaster Report

9. Fire Prevention & Safety Officer Report

10. Safety & Compliance Officer Report

11. Committee Reports

a) Membership Committee and election of Proposed Members

b) Social Committee

c) Fund Raising Committee

d) Emergency Support Team

e) Auditing Committee

f) Grievance Committee

g) Credentials Review Committee

h) Bylaws Committee

12. Election of Officers

13. Unfinished Business

14. New Business

15. Communications and Bills

16. Good of the Department

17. Adjournment

 

 

ARTICLE XV

OATH

 

1. All newly elected members shall be sworn into the Department, by the Department President, by taking the Department Oath at the first regular meeting after the applicant’s acceptance.

2. The below Department Oath shall be taken by all members at the Annual Meeting

“I do solemnly swear to uphold the Constitutional Bylaws of the New Hartford Volunteer Fire Department, to obey its officers and fulfill my duties to the best of my abilities.  So help me God.”

 

ARTICLE XVI

AMENDMENTS

 

These constitutional Bylaws may be amended by a majority of the total membership of the Department at any regular meeting provided such proposed amendment is presented in writing at the preceding regular meeting.  Written or email notice of a Constitutional Bylaw amendment is to be sent by the Secretary to each member of the Department at least ten (10) days before the meeting at which the proposed amendment is to be voted on.

 

 

NHFD Bylaws Revised August 2014