West Baton Rouge Parish officials have selected the three individuals who will make up the Civil Service Board for the newly created consolidated fire district.
However, Fire Chief Charles Stephens said Friday the members of the new board probably won’t be seated until early January, after the fire district’s job descriptions and pay scale are approved by the Office of State Examiners.
Stephens said the parish’s Civil Service Board will take the fire district’s 19 paid full-time firefighters from being “at-will employees” by serving as the oversight for most of the district’s personnel matters.
“This brings an unbiased third-party into the mix that will just do what’s good for the district as a whole,” Stephens said.
Creation of the board was a stipulation that sprung out of the parish’s July 1 consolidation of its six fire subdistricts in Port Allen, Addis, Brusly, Lobdell, Erwinville and Rosehill.
The merger was a state legislative solution to a protracted fight between West Baton Rouge Parish officials and the fire subdistricts over more than $2 million in sales tax revenue.
The final representative of the board was selected Thursday night at the parish’s Board of Commissioners’ meeting.
Jason Henderson, a captain from the Port Allen branch, will serve as the Civil Service Board’s employee representative after he gained a majority of the votes from the district’s paid, full-time firefighters.
Joe Arabie, a work release employee with the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, was presented to the Board of Commissioners for selection by LSU last month.
And retired East Baton Rouge Parish firefighter Anita Collins was selected by the Board of Commissioners — which is essentially the West Baton Rouge Parish Council.
All three individuals had to live in the parish in order to serve on the Civil Service Board.
“They’re responsible for ensuring that the provisions of the fire and police civil service laws are applied appropriately,” said Robert Lawrence, state examiner for the Office of State Examiners. “All employees hired from now going forward are going to be as a result of competitive exams that our office administers.”
In addition to approving any departmental promotions, Lawrence said, the West Baton Rouge Civil Service Board also must hear any matter brought to them on appeal by an employee who feels disciplinary action taken against them was not in good faith or cause.
The civil service boards are required to meet at least once quarterly.
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