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City of Charlottesville, VA Fire Department
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES


Organization

Chapter: V - Personnel Policies and Procedures
Subject: Disciplinary Guidelines
Code: 1-V-11
Revised: 6-10-96

11.01  PURPOSE

       To  provide disciplinary policies, guidelines and procedures for
       the Charlottesville Fire Department.

11.02  POLICY

       A.  The  establishment  and  maintenance  of  discipline  is the
           responsibility of  all  officers.   Officers'  treatment  of
           their subordinates shall be impartial and without prejudice.
           Favoritism or unjust discrimination of duties or orders will
           not be tolerated.
       B.  No  unfair advantage shall be taken of a subordinate because
           of their  obligation  to  obedience.   Spite  orders,  petty
           persecutions or nagging will not be tolerated.
       C.  Officers shall see that rules are enforced.
       D.  Officers  shall  strive  to  adjust  differences or disputes
           between their subordinates.
       E.  Charges  must  be  preferred  for  any  offense of a serious
           nature, but minor or merely  technical  infractions  of  the
           rules  should  be corrected, either on the spot or privately
           when  advisable.   These  types  of  infractions,  generally
           speaking,  shall  not  be made the subject of charges unless
           repeated or persisted in.
       F.  Extenuating  circumstances  will  be taken into account, but
           alleged ignorance or misunderstanding of rules will  not  be
           accepted  as an excuse.  Previous conduct, good or bad, will
           be taken into account in determining the penalty.
       G.  Whenever  employee  performance,  attitude,  work  habits or
           personal conduct on the job falls below a  desirable  level,
           supervisors shall inform employees promptly and specifically
           of  such  lapses  and  give  counsel  and   assistance.    I
           appropriate  and  justified, a reasonable period of time for
           improvement may be allowed  before  initiating  disciplinary
           action.
       H.  In  some  instances  a  specific incident may justify severe
           disciplinary action in and of itself.  However,  the  action
           to  be  taken depends on the seriousness of the incident and
           the  whole  pattern  of  the  employee's  past  conduct  and
           performance.

11.03  PROCEDURE

       A.  All  charges  shall  be  made  in  writing and signed by the
           individual preferring the charges.
       B.  Charges shall be brought for the following violations:
           1.  Violation  of  any rule, regulation or lawful order of a
               superior officer.
           2.  Inefficiency or incapacity in the performance of duty.
           3.  Neglect of duty.
           4.  Reporting for duty while under the influence of drugs or
               alcohol.
           5.  Drinking  any  alcoholic  beverage  or taking drugs that
               might incapacitate an individual while on duty.
           6.  Absence without leave.
           7.  Refusal to obey orders.
           8.  Careless or reckless operation of a motor vehicle.
           9.  Speaking   disrespectfully  of  any  officer  or  person
               connected with the fire department.
          10.  Making a false report or statement.
          11.  Conduct prejudicial to good order or discipline such as:
               gambling;  disorderly  behavior;  provoking  or  harmful
               mischievous  conduct;  quarreling, threatening, fighting
               or assaulting; creating discrediting  public  spectacle;
               unnecessary disturbance of sleeping persons between 2200
               hours and 0600 hours or during  other  permitted  times;
               meddling  with  property or belongings of others; hazing
               or similar acts.
          12.  Thievery  -  The  taking  of  property  belonging to the
               department or an individual.
       C.  No  charges  shall  be  brought  unless  it  is believed the
           charges can be proved.
       D.  Charges  and  complaints  brought against a person of higher
           rank by members of the department shall be in writing to the
           next  highest ranking paid officer above the person that the
           charges are being  brought.   Such  charges  and  complaints
           shall be signed by the individual bringing them.
       E.  Any  officer  or  member  of  the department charged with an
           offense shall plead either "guilty" or "not guilty".
       F.  Any   officer  or  member  charged  with  an  infraction  of
           departmental rules  shall  have  the  right  to  answer  the
           charges  against  him/her  and  face  his/her  accuser(s) if
           he/she so desires.

11.04  TYPES OF DISCIPLINARY ACTION

       A.  Oral Reprimand - Shall  consist  of  an  oral  statement  of
                            reprimand made to the  member.   A  written
                            record of this oral statement shall be made
                            and kept in the member's personnel file  in
                            the Fire Department Records for a period of
                            one (1) year.
       B.  Written Reprimand - Shall  consist of a written statement of
                               reprimand delivered  to  the  member,  a
                               copy  of  which  shall  be placed in the
                               member's  personnel  file  in  the  Fire
                               Department  Records  and  shall become a
                               permanent part of he/her records.
       C.  Suspension From Duty - Shall  consist of a written notice to
                               the member to the effect that he/she  is
                               suspended  from  duty  for  a  specified
                               number of days without pay upon  grounds
                               stated in the notice.
                                  Any   member   who  is  arrested  and
                               charged with a  felony  may  be  removed
                               from  work  during  the  period  between
                               arrest and the end of the trial.  During
                               this  period he or she may be considered
                               in a leave without  pay  status,  except
                               that  the  employee may request vacation
                               or  compensatory  time  if  he  or   she
                               wishes.   (Refer  to  the City Personnel
                               Regulations for further information)
       D.  Reduction In Pay - Shall  consist of a written notice to the
                              member to the effect that his/her pay has
                              been  lowered a step in the pay range and
                              the grounds for the action.   A  copy  of
                              this   notice  shall  be  placed  in  the
                              members personnel file.
       E.  Demotion In Rank - Shall   consist   of   written  statement
                              notifying the member  of  a  demotion  in
                              rank  and the grounds for this action.  A
                              copy of this notice shall  be  placed  in
                              the members personnel file.
       F.  Dismissal - Shall  consist of dismissing the member from the
                       Fire Department after  written  notice  to  that
                       effect is given the member which shall state the
                       grounds thereof.
       G.  Dismissal Alternative - Commonly  called  a  "Decision Day",
                                   this   alternative   to    dismissal
                                   consists of a conference between the
                                   supervisor  and  the   employee   to
                                   review  the  history  of the problem
                                   and to ask the employee's intentions
                                   to  work  within  the rules.  If the
                                   employee  intentions  are  to   work
                                   within  the  rules,  he/she  is then
                                   advised to take  the  next  day  off
                                   with pay, and use the time to decide
                                   whether  he/she  will  correct   the
                                   problem   and  continue  working  or
                                   quit.  If the  employee  commits  to
                                   work    within    the   rules,   the
                                   supervisor writes a  letter  to  the
                                   employee which makes a record of the
                                   agreement reached between  them  and
                                   the  consequences of failure to live
                                   up to it.  Both sign  the  agreement
                                   and   both   retain  copies  of  the
                                   agreement.    The   employee    then
                                   returns to work.  When two (2) years
                                   have elapsed  after  the  agreement,
                                   and there have been no failures, the
                                   written agreement may be  destroyed.
                                   If  the  employee  decides  to quit,
                                   process the termination.

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