1997 Regular Session
To: Local and Private Legislation
By: Representative Barnett (116th)
House Bill 1927
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES OF THE CITY OF D'IBERVILLE, MISSISSIPPI, TO CREATE A CIVIL SERVICE SYSTEM; TO PROVIDE FOR THE CREATION OF A CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION AND SPECIFY ITS POWERS AND DUTIES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. As used in this act, the following words shall have the meanings ascribed herein unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
(a) "Governing authorities" means the governing authorities of the City of D'Iberville, Mississippi.
(b) "City" means the City of D'Iberville, Mississippi.
SECTION 2. The governing authorities of the City of D'Iberville, Mississippi, in their discretion, may by ordinance, extend the provisions of this act to all full-time paid employees in all departments of the city.
SECTION 3. (1) The members of the civil service commission shall be appointed by the governing authorities, shall be three (3) in number, and shall serve without compensation; however, the governing authorities, in their discretion, may pay each of the members of the commission a sum not to exceed One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) per month to compensate them for their services. No person shall be appointed a member of the civil service commission who is not a citizen of the United States, a resident of the city for at least five (5) years immediately preceding such appointment, and an elector of the county wherein he resides. The terms of office of such commissioners shall be for six (6) years, except that the first three (3) members shall be appointed for different terms, as follows: One (1) shall serve for a period of two (2) years, one (1) shall serve for a period of four (4) years, and one (1) shall serve for a period of six (6) years.
(2) Any member of the civil service commission may be removed from office for incompetency, incompatibility, dereliction of duty, or other good cause, by the governing authorities. However, no member shall be removed until charges have been preferred in writing and a full hearing had before the governing authorities. Any member being so removed shall have the right of appeal, any time within thirty (30) days thereafter, to the circuit court of the county within which the city is located and may demand a jury trial; such trial shall be confined to the determination of whether the order of removal, made by the governing authorities, was or was not made in good faith and for cause.
(3) A majority of the members of the civil service commission shall constitute a quorum.
SECTION 4. Immediately after the appointment of the civil service commission, the commission shall organize by electing one (1) of its members chairman. The civil service commission shall hold regular meetings at least once each month, and such additional meetings as may be required for the proper discharge of its duties. The civil service commission shall appoint a secretary and a board of examiners, which board shall consist of the fire chief (or a person designated by the fire chief from the fire department to serve in his absence), the police chief (or a person designated by the police chief from the police department to serve in his absence), and a third member to be named by the commission, all of whom shall serve without compensation. The secretary shall keep the records and preserve all reports made to the civil service commission, and also a record of all examinations held under the direction of the board of examiners, and perform such other duties as the commission may prescribe. The members of the board and the secretary are subject to suspension and discharge in the same manner as the commissioners.
SECTION 5. It shall be the duty of the civil service commission to make suitable rules and regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of this act. Such rules and regulations shall provide in detail the manner of conducting examinations, appointments, promotions, transfers, reinstatements, demotions, suspensions and discharges, and may also provide for any other matter connected with the general subject of personnel administration, and which may be considered desirable to further carry out the general purposes of this act. It shall have the power to conduct investigations, and make reports on all matters touching the enforcement and effect of the provisions of this act, and the rules and regulations prescribed hereunder. The civil service commission shall have the power to investigate all complaints which must be reduced to writing, subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and conduct hearings.
SECTION 6. The governing authorities shall provide the civil service commission with suitable and convenient rooms and accommodations and cause the same to be furnished, heated and lighted and supplied with all office supplies and equipment necessary to carry on the business of the commission and with such clerical assistance as may be necessary, all of which is to be commensurate with the number of persons in the city coming within the purview of this act. The failure upon the part of the governing authorities to do so shall be considered a violation of this section and shall be punishable as such.
SECTION 7. The provisions of this act shall include all full paid employees of the fire and/or police departments of the city, including the chiefs of those departments. All appointments to and promotions in such departments shall be made solely on merit, efficiency, and fitness, which may be ascertained by open competitive examination and impartial investigation. No person shall be reinstated in, transferred, suspended, or discharged from any place, position or employment contrary to the provisions of this act. The governing authorities may, with the approval of the civil service commission, extend the benefits of this act to other full-time employees of the municipality.
All incumbents and future appointees shall be subject to civil service, except, however, those appointees now and hereafter serving as extra members.
SECTION 8. All applicants for a position of any kind under civil service must be a citizen of the United States and an elector of the county in which he resides and must meet only such bona fide occupational residency requirements as may be determined by the city board of civil service commissioners or the governing authorities.
SECTION 9. For the benefit of the public service and to prevent delay, injury, or interruption therein by reason of the enactment of this act, all persons holding a position in the fire and/or police departments, including the chiefs thereof, of the city, who shall have served continuously in such positions for a period of at least the preceding six (6) months, are hereby declared eligible for permanent appointment under civil service to the offices, positions or employments which they shall then hold, respectively, without examination or other act on their part, and not on probation, and every such person is hereby automatically adopted and inducted permanently into civil service, into such office, place, position or employment which such person then holds as completely and effectually to all intents and purposes as if such person had been permanently appointed thereto under civil service after examination and investigation. However, those persons who have previously left their positions to participate in the Armed Forces of the United States shall have preference in reemployment and enjoy the rights and privileges of this act as if their services had not been terminated.
SECTION 10. The civil service commission shall keep a list of all members of the city police and/or fire department, and formulate methods of determining the relative qualifications of persons seeking employment in either department, and give preference to those having the best qualifications. The civil service commission shall provide that persons laid off because of curtailment of expenditures, reduction in force, and like causes, shall be the last person or persons, including probationers, that have been appointed to either the fire and/or police departments, until such reductions necessary shall have been accomplished. However, in the event such department shall again be increased in number, those suspended shall be reinstated before any new appointments shall be made.
SECTION 11. The tenure of everyone holding an office, place, position or employment under the provisions of this act shall be only during good behavior. Any such person may be removed or discharged, suspended without pay, demoted or reduced in rank, or deprived of vacation privileges or other special privileges, or any combination thereof, for any of the following reasons:
Incompetency, inefficiency or inattention of duty, dishonesty, intemperance, immoral conduct, insubordination, discourteous treatment of the public or a fellow employee, or any other act of omission or commission tending to injure the public service.
SECTION 12. No person in the classified civil service who shall have been permanently appointed or inducted into civil service under the provisions of this act, except for such persons as may be employed to fill a vacancy caused by the absence of a fireman or policeman while in service as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, shall be removed, suspended, demoted or discharged, or any combination thereof, except for cause, and only upon the written accusation of the appointing power or any citizen or taxpayer, a written statement of which accusation, in general terms, shall be served upon the accused, and a duplicate filed with the civil service commission. The chiefs of the fire and/or police department may suspend a member pending the confirmation of the suspension by the regular appointing power, which shall be within three (3) days.
In the absence of extraordinary circumstances or situations, before any such employee may be removed or discharged, he shall be given written notice of the intended termination, which notice shall state the reasons for termination and inform the employee that he has the right to respond in writing to the reasons given for termination within a reasonable time and respond orally before the official charged with the responsibility of making the termination decision. Such official may, in his discretion, provide for a pretermination hearing and examination of witnesses, and if a hearing is to be held, the notice to the employee shall also set the time and place of such hearing. A duplicate of such notice shall be filed with the civil service commission. After the employee has responded or has failed to respond within a reasonable time, the official charged with the responsibility of making the termination decision shall determine the appropriate disciplinary action, and shall notify the employee of his decision in writing at the earliest practicable date.
Where there are extraordinary circumstances or situations which require the immediate discharge or removal of an employee, such employee may be terminated without a pretermination hearing as required by this section, but such employee shall be given written notice of the specific reasons for termination within twenty-four (24) hours after the termination, and shall be given an opportunity for a hearing similar to the pretermination hearing provided in this section within twenty (20) days after the date of termination. For the purposes of this section, extraordinary situations or circumstances include, but are not limited to, circumstances where retention of the employee would result in damage to municipal property, would be detrimental to the interest of municipal government or would result in injury to the employee, to a fellow employee or to the general public.
Any person so removed, suspended, demoted, discharged or any combination thereof may, within ten (10) days from the time of such disciplinary action, file with the civil service commission a written demand for an investigation, whereupon the commission shall conduct such investigation. The investigation shall be confined to the determination of the question of whether such disciplinary action was or was not made for political or religious reasons and was or was not made in good faith for cause. After such investigation the civil service commission may, if in its estimation the evidence is conclusive, affirm the disciplinary action, or if it shall find that the disciplinary action was made for political or religious reasons, or was not made in good faith for cause, shall order the immediate reinstatement or reemployment of such person in the office, place, position, or employment from which such person was removed, suspended, demoted, discharged or any combination thereof, which reinstatement shall, if the commission so provides in its discretion, be retroactive, and entitle such person to pay or compensation from the time of such disciplinary action. The civil service commission upon such investigation may, in lieu of affirming the disciplinary action, modify the order of removal, suspension, demotion, discharge or any combination thereof by directing a suspension, without pay, for a given period and subsequent restoration of duty, or by directing a demotion in classification, grade or pay, or by any combination thereof. The findings of the civil service commission shall be certified in writing to the appointing power, and shall be forthwith enforced by such officer.
All investigations made by the civil service commission pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be by public hearing, after reasonable written notice to the accused of the time and place of such hearing, at which hearing the accused shall be afforded an opportunity of appearing in person and by counsel, and presenting his defense. The findings of the civil service commission shall be conclusive and binding unless either the accused or the city shall, within thirty (30) days from the date of the entry of such judgment or order on the minutes of the commission and notification to the accused and the city, appeal to the circuit court of the county within which the city is located. Any appeal of the judgment or order of the civil service commission shall not act as a supersedeas of such judgment or order, but the judgment or order shall remain in effect pending a final determination of the matter on appeal. Such appeal shall be taken by serving the civil service commission and the appellee, within thirty (30) days after the entry of such judgment or order, a written notice of appeal, stating the grounds thereof, and demanding that a certified transcript of the record and of all papers on file in the office of the civil service commission affecting or relating to such judgment or order, be filed by the commission with such court. The civil service commission shall, within thirty (30) days after the filing of such notice, make, certify and file the transcript with such court. The circuit court shall thereupon proceed to hear and determine the appeal. However, such hearing shall be confined to the determination of whether the judgment or order of removal, discharge, demotion, suspension or any combination thereof made by the civil service commission, was or was not made in good faith for cause, and no appeal to such court shall be taken except upon such ground or grounds.
SECTION 13. The fixing of the rate of compensation of every employee coming under the provisions of this act shall remain vested in those public officials authorized by law to fix the rate of such compensation, and nothing contained in this act shall infringe upon the power and authority of any such public officials to so fix the rate of such compensation.
SECTION 14. No person holding any office, place, position or employment subject to civil service, is under any obligation to contribute to any political fund or to render any political service to any person or party whatsoever, and no person shall be removed, reduced in grade or salary, or otherwise prejudiced for refusing so to do. No public officer, whether elected or appointed, shall discharge, promote, demote or in any manner change the official rank, employment or compensation of any person under civil service, or promise or threaten so to do, for giving or withholding, or neglecting to make any contribution of money, or service, or any other valuable thing, for any political purpose.
SECTION 15. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.