STATEHOUSE (March 29, 2017) — State Rep. Kevin Mahan’s (R-Hartford City) legislation granting members of fire departments the option of representation when facing disciplinary action could soon become law.
House Bill 1171 would help ensure firefighters are provided due process when facing termination or a demotion with cause. The legislation would allow full-time, paid, non-probationary firefighters to choose representation by legal counsel, a labor organization representative or another representative of their choice. Under this proposal, a final meeting between a firefighter and their supervisor cannot take place until the firefighter is able to obtain representation at their own expense, if they so choose.
“When dealing with disciplinary actions, it is often tough to understand a process that is sometimes complicated,” Mahan said. “This legislation gives a firefighter the opportunity to seek representation or an advocate to help them navigate through the disciplinary process when facing a difficult situation. It is important to give these brave men and women an opportunity to adequately defend themselves when their livelihoods are possibly at stake. I very much enjoyed working with not only the firefighters, but also the fire chiefs and their association in making this law become a reality.”
House Bill 1171 does not apply to members of the fire department who hold upper level or policy making positions, members who have been appointed to a position by the chief of the department or a department that has a merit-based system. Additionally, this legislation does not apply to any interview, interrogation or other interaction that is a part of a firefighter’s conduct.
This legislation is now eligible for consideration by the governor. Visit iga.in.gov to learn more about this bill.
State Rep. Kevin Mahan represents House District 31, which includes
Blackford County and portions of Delaware, Grant and Wells counties.
A high-resolution photo of Mahan can be downloaded by clicking here.