§ 35.33  MERIT SYSTEM.
   (A)   Effective July 1, 2006, a merit system is hereby established for the Fire Department ("Department") to govern the selection and appointment of persons to be employed as members of the Department, and to govern the promotion, demotion, discipline and dismissal of members of the Department, all in accordance with the terms and provisions of I.C. 36-8-3.5-1 et seq., which are hereby adopted in their entirety and constitute the basis for the merit system established by this section, except for the following:
      (1)   The provisions of I.C. 36-8-3.5-11(a) are amended by this section, as it applies to the Fire Department merit system, so that "upper level policy making positions" include all ranks higher than battalion chief.
      (2)   The provisions of I.C. 36-8-3.5-11(a) are further amended by this section, as it applies to the Fire Department merit system, so that the second sentence in I.C. 36-8-3.5-11a) reads as "the Chief of the Fire Department shall appoint Divisions Chiefs."
      (3)   The provisions of I.C. 36-8-3.5-11(a) are further amended by this section, as it applies to the Fire Department merit system, so that those firefighters with the rank of Division Chief hold an "upper level policy making position". However, a Division Chief maintains a right to appeal his or her removal in accordance with the procedures set forth in I.C. 36-8-3.5-17 and I.C. 36-8-3.5-11(d).
      (4)   The provisions of I.C. 36-8-3.5-13 are amended by this section as follows:
         (a)   Rules governing promotions must provide that the following factors be considered in rating a member of the department for a promotion:
            (1)   The score received by the member on a written competitive examination.
            (2)   The score received by the member on an oral competitive interview.
            (3)   The performance record of the member in the department.
            (4)   The member's length of service.
   The commission shall determine the weight to be given to each of the factors. However, neither a member's length of service nor the score received on the oral interview may comprise more than twenty percent (20%) each of the rating.
         (b)   Promotions to a rank must be from the next lower rank. In addition, the member being promoted must have served at the lower rank for a period determined by the commission. With the exception of privates, who meet the required qualifications as determined by the commission, who shall be eligible to promote to the rank of lieutenant. as long as they will complete the years of continuous service approved by the Commission during the life of the eligibility list.
         The provisions of I.C. 36-8-3.5-13 (b) (that promotions must come from the next lowest rank), as it applies to the Fire Department merit system, do not apply to upper level policy making positions nor to the merit rank of lieutenant. However, the merit commission may impose a length of service on the Department requirement for those positions
         (c)   Only members who are qualified in rank and will achieve the time in rank approved by the Commission during the life of the eligibility list may be given the competitive examinations and placed on an eligibility list. Eligible candidates may not be promoted until the time in rank approved by the Commission has been served. The eligibility list for a position consists of members who have been placed on the list in order of their cumulative score on all rating factors. The eligibility list shall be maintained for two (2) years from the date of certification, after which time the list shall be retired and a new list established. The retired list shall be kept for five (5) years and then destroyed.
   (Italics added to emphasize the amendments.)
      (5)   The provisions of I.C. 36-8-3.5-15(a) are amended by this section, as it applies to the Fire Department merit system, to provide that performance ratings shall be made at least every 12 months instead of every six months.
      (6)   The provisions of I.C. 36-8-3.5-6(a) are amended by this section, as it applies to the Fire Department merit system, to remove all mention of different political parties and political affiliation, to read in its entirety, as follows:
   A Merit commission consisting of five (5) commissioners shall be established for each department of a unit having a merit system. The commissioners are:
         (1)   Two (2) persons appointed by the unit's executive;
         (2)   One (1) person appointed by the unit's legislative body; and
         (3)   Two (2) persons elected by the active members of the department.
   (B)   Members of the Department who are currently receiving pay to be an engineer, as of May 9, 2006, shall be considered to hold the special merit rank of engineer. Years of service in the rank of engineer shall accrue from the date the firefighter began receiving pay to be an engineer.
   (C)   Members of the Department who hold the rank of private, lieutenant, captain and battalion chief as of May 9, 2006 shall retain that rank and be considered merit firefighters or fire officers. Years of service in the rank of private shall accrue from date the firefighters' original probation was completed. The years of service for officers will accrue from the officers' original date(s) of promotion.
   (D)   The order of merit ranks will be: private, engineer, lieutenant, captain and battalion chief. Firefighters or engineers with sufficient years of service as determined by the merit commission are eligible to test for a lieutenant position. Only lieutenants with sufficient years of service as lieutenants as determined by the merit commission are eligible to test for captain. Only captains with sufficient years of service as captains as determined by the merit commission are eligible to test for battalion chief.
   (E)   Hiring and promotional lists in effect as of May 9, 2006 shall remain in effect for two years from the date on which they were first accepted.
   (F)   The establishment of a merit system by this section is subject to the approval of the merit system by a majority of the active members of the Department. A meeting of the active members of the Department for the purpose of their voting by secret ballot to accept or reject the merit system shall be convened pursuant to notice as prescribed in I.C. 36-8-3.5-4. The notice must be given prior to July 8, 2006, as required by I.C. § 36-8-3.5-4(a).
(Ord. 36-04-06, passed 5-9-06; Am. Ord. 91-10-06, passed 10-24-06)