1. #1

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    Aug 2007
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    Arizona
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    Default Board Member as FF?

    Hi everyone
    New to the forum but have been lurking a while. Here is my question to everyone.

    We have members of our District board who volunteer as firefighters too. In our district bylaws its says " No member of the board shall be an employee and no employee shall be a member of the board". I would like to know if they receive no compensation for their time, if that is allowed or is this a straight up violation of the by laws and a conflict of interest?

    I'd like to get everyones feedback if I can.
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    bfranse's Avatar
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    Missouri
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    If your fire district is tax based and your board is elected by the public it is a conflict of interest. To have the Fire Chief report to a subordinate setting on the board of directors is bad policy. It is difficult for a person to wear two hats at once and in my experience the hat that keeps falling off is the helmet.

    As far as your bylaws, if it reads:

    Quote Originally Posted by gfd1701 View Post
    " No member of the board shall be an employee and no employee shall be a member of the board".
    I don't see why you are confused. If you are wondering if there is some sort of illegality, that would depend on your state’s laws, mainly the definition of “Employee”. Federally a violation of the bylaws could effect you tax except status as a non-profit. As much as the IRS loves its rules I doubt they would even care as long as no one was compensated for their time.
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

  3. #3
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    51E12GDS's Avatar
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    On one of the departments I am on, one of our captains is also a trustee for our department. There is no problem with that. In fact, some of our trustees have even expressed interest in becoming firefighters!

  4. #4
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    Kansas
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    We had it wrote in that no active board (they are elected) member shall be allowed to be a member of the fire department. This was approved and signed into our by-laws by the elected officials. After this last election we had an ex-member of the department get elected and asked about joining up again. This by-law was pointed out and ended his request. But this elected official was/had been very vocal about dismissing our Chief. But he then found a new by-law that had been approved by the last board that states "It takes an unanamis (sp) vote of the board to dismiss the Chief of the department". We are going to POC and this ex-fireman/newly elected board member wants to fight it. So far it is going through.

    T.J.

  5. #5
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    Marion, Mississippi
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    When I ran for Alderman (didn't win but running again), I checked with the Ag's office, and the Ethics commission.

    I can be a "firefighter" AND an Alderman.

    But,
    I cannot hold an "officer" position, be paid or "re-imbursed" by the town, be on the FD "board of directors" (non-profit), or profit in any way from the decisions made by me as an elected official.
    That includes Town paid training/schools.
    Furthermore, I would have to abstain from any votes that would decide compensation to the VFD members if that included myself.

    I think it would be similar in other places and different in some places.

  6. #6
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    Louisville, KY USA
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    I believe this is a state to state issue.
    In Ky a Chapter 75 Fire Protection District (such are we) is comprised of 7 Board members.
    3 County Judge/Executive-Mayor Appointed
    2 Property Owners - Elected (Must reside in district)
    2 Firefighter Representatives - (Elected by firefighters)
    Only the 2 FF reps postition can be a firefighter with that dept.
    Josh Ball
    FF/EMT - Zoneton Fire Protection District
    PSO II - Louisville International Airport
    Deputy - Bullitt County Sheriff's Office

  7. #7
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    Our board members cannot be firefighters within our department or serve on any parish governmental board or be a parish official.

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