1. #1
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    Default By-Laws Help Please

    We are currently in the process of writing all new by-laws for our department. We are a small rural Iowa all vol department. The State of Iowa does have some minimum standards we must meet in order to work in the hot zone that we need to work into our by-laws for what makes an active member. We currently have nothing to work with. If their are departments out there that would be willing to share their department by-laws with us we would greatly appreciate it. By-laws from any smaller rural departments would be the best fit for us.
    If anyone would be willing to share you can email us at movillevfd@wiatel.net

    Thanks a bunch.

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    What do the bylaws for the other departments in your area look like? That is where I would get most of the information.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
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    Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanEMVFD View Post
    What do the bylaws for the other departments in your area look like? That is where I would get most of the information.
    Exactly - check with your neighbors. Also check with your state firefighter's associaton for boilerplate bylaws and other guidance.

    Too, who is the Authority Having Jurisdiction? That's the folks who would sign your paycheck, if you got paid. They've got responsibility for you, so they should have some say. You've already mentioned that there are state requirements.

    You might also consider whether there's a differentiation between the "fraternal" side of the house and the operational side of the house - if there's a separation.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanEMVFD View Post
    What do the bylaws for the other departments in your area look like? That is where I would get most of the information.
    We are waiting for two of our mutual aid partners in the County to get us copies of their By-Laws, just looking for others to come up with ideas.

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    How about a simple by-law that gives the Chief the Authority to set the minimum standards, or even just a reference to the standards having to comply with applicable state laws and regulations. Then you wouldn't need to revise with every change.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    Not sure if you were still looking so I sent you a copy of ours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mach158 View Post
    Not sure if you were still looking so I sent you a copy of ours.
    Thanks, I did receive your email.

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    Lightbulb Instead of opening a new topic...

    So instead of opening a new By-Laws topic, I'll add my question to this thread here...

    I just wrote up a new set of by-laws for my department, basing them off a neighboring department, with changes and additions to meet our needs. My question is, would it be smart to have a lawyer check over them? I know once voted in, they become an official document, and all that jazz. Being this is the first time I've ever written something like this, and it being a 20+ page document covering all our bases, and with very few amendments, should last quite awhile.

    Sorry if this idea is barbaric, It just hit me before I sent them off to a few other officers.

    Thanks!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picc.93Truck View Post
    So instead of opening a new By-Laws topic, I'll add my question to this thread here...

    I just wrote up a new set of by-laws for my department, basing them off a neighboring department, with changes and additions to meet our needs. My question is, would it be smart to have a lawyer check over them? I know once voted in, they become an official document, and all that jazz. Being this is the first time I've ever written something like this, and it being a 20+ page document covering all our bases, and with very few amendments, should last quite awhile.

    Sorry if this idea is barbaric, It just hit me before I sent them off to a few other officers.

    Thanks!
    -Picc
    Yes, I would. There are some elements that you should have in your by-laws based on your incorporation and the rules that govern that.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Picc.93Truck View Post
    My question is, would it be smart to have a lawyer check over them?
    Yep, if for no reason other than having someone neutral offer their input. Something may make perfect sense to you and your committee, but...

    You might also avoid including something that is patently illegal, even though you didn't realize it, or you may have omitted something.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    And to throw my own question in here (I posted this in the NY forum as well) -

    I'm looking to rewrite portions of our by-laws to clarify some fuzzy areas, one in particular being membership classes.

    We have active - pretty plain vanilla, activity requirements, etc.

    At 20 years we award life membership. If you're an active member, the only difference is that we don't require you to pay dues anymore.

    We also have in our current by-laws "inactive life member." That's someone who no longer meets activity requirements. It's the area we most need to clarify.

    I'd like to introduce a new term along with more clear specifications. "Exempt firefighter" is defined in state law and how it exists there doesn't square with what I'm trying to do.

    So I'm looking for another name for those life members who are thus only because they're life members. They don't show up for anything, and shouldn't be voting/holding office/etc.

    The idea is that they could request such status once becoming a life member at twenty, or would automatically become so if/when as a life member they fail to meet activity requirements. Returning to active status would require a written request and approval by the department (almost like becoming a new member).

    Thoughts?
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    And to throw my own question in here (I posted this in the NY forum as well) -

    I'm looking to rewrite portions of our by-laws to clarify some fuzzy areas, one in particular being membership classes.

    We have active - pretty plain vanilla, activity requirements, etc.

    At 20 years we award life membership. If you're an active member, the only difference is that we don't require you to pay dues anymore.

    We also have in our current by-laws "inactive life member." That's someone who no longer meets activity requirements. It's the area we most need to clarify.

    I'd like to introduce a new term along with more clear specifications. "Exempt firefighter" is defined in state law and how it exists there doesn't square with what I'm trying to do.

    So I'm looking for another name for those life members who are thus only because they're life members. They don't show up for anything, and shouldn't be voting/holding office/etc.

    The idea is that they could request such status once becoming a life member at twenty, or would automatically become so if/when as a life member they fail to meet activity requirements. Returning to active status would require a written request and approval by the department (almost like becoming a new member).

    Thoughts?
    We differentiate with "Active" and "Inactive".

    So we have

    "Active"
    "Active Exempt" - These guys have met the requirements for "exempt" status but are still active, can run for office, etc.

    "Inactive exempt" - Exempt and are no longer meeting the requirements of office.

    "Life Member" is someone who is Exempt (10 years; >60% average of all calls, drills, meetings) AND has an additional 10 years of "active" service. So 20 years >60%.

    Edit: Forgot that some self serving members voted exempt back to 7 years to match the state requirement.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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