Fire Service Bills in Massachusetts
There are a number of fire service bills in the Massachusetts State Legislature now in session. The most important of them are the following: Senate Bill 168 provides for a board of fire commissioners to govern the Pittsfield department and is presented by the Board of Trade. House Bill 817, presented by Chief F. A. Leonard, of Taunton, and others, provides for one day off duty in five in all the cities of the State. All but four of the cities now have this system. In 1913 all the cities which did not then have 1 day in 5 voted on its adoption by referendum and all but Lowell, Taunton and Northampton voted to adopt it. Last year these three cities again voted on the question and Northampton adopted it leaving Lowell and Taunton the only cities without. Last month Attleboro and Revere became cities and this bill applies to them also. Bill 899 places the chief engineer of Springfield under civil service regulations and Bill 902 for the same purpose is for the chief of the Watertown department, provided the voters of the town accept it at next town election. Bill 949, presented by the Massachusetts Permanent Firemen’s Association, provides for the two-platoon system for permanent firemen of every city and town in the state and is similar to most twoplatoon bills except that it has a referendum clause and must be voted upon on petition of fifteen per cent, of the registered voters. Bill 1064, presented by Joseph J. Benson, is also a two-platoon bill but is for cities of 40,000 and more inhabitants only. It is similar to the twoplatoon bill of the firemen’s association, and includes the referendum clause. It must, however, be voted on at the next municipal election following its passage. Bill 1032, presented by Captain William Brophy, secretary of the Massachusetts Fire Chief’s Club and others, reads as follows: “The chief engineer of the fire department in any city or town heretofore or hereafter appointed or elected, shall hold his office continuously during good behavior unless incapacitated through physical or mental disability from performing the duties of his position; provided, however, that the mayor of the city with the consent of the confirming power, the fire commissioner or fire commissioners when such commissioner or commissioners are the appointing power, with the consent of the mayor, and the confirming power, and in towns the selectmen may remove the chief engineer of the fire department for just cause and for reasons specifically given by the officer or board ordering the removal. The person sought to be removed shall have notice and shall be furnished with a copy of the reasons required to be given in Section One and shall be allowed a reasonable time to answer the same in writing. A copy of such reasons, notice and answer and of the order of removal shall be made a matter of public record of the fire department. All acts and parts of acts inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.” Bills 1017 and 1018 provided for the appointment of inspectors and for an appeal from decisions of the commissioners of the Boston Metropolitan fire prevention bureau recently established. All these bills are now in the hands of the committees to whom they have been assigned and public hearing will soon be held on most of them.