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Questions & Answers

Employment: Eligibility, Appointment and Promotions


How do I get hired for an entry-level position with fire and police departments in the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service System?

If you wish to be employed in entry-level classified positions with fire and police departments included in the Louisiana Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service System, you must submit an application and any required documentation directly to the municipal fire and police civil service board in the city or fire protection district where you wish to be employed. (Applications may be obtained from the contact person indicated for the jurisdiction as noted on this website, or may be downloaded directly from this website. Most boards accept the downloaded version; however, please confirm with the board in advance to determine whether the downloaded version will be accepted.) Your application will be reviewed by the civil service board for compliance with the minimum qualifications for the position, and, based upon the information provided, the board may approve your admission to the competitive examination. If approved, you will be informed at least five days in advance of the date, time and place of the examination. If you receive a passing score (at least 75%), the civil service board will place your name upon an eligibility list, which is certified in writing to the appointing authority. The appointing authority may then select anyone deemed qualified from the list in accordance with the selection procedures adopted by the appointing authority (interview, background check, etc.)

Once you have received a passing score, you may report your passing score to the board in the city or fire protection district where you wish be employed. You must, however, submit an application to the board where you wish to take the test, as well as to the board in the jurisdiction where you wish to be hired. Scores may be reported only for the classifications of Police Officer, Police Communications Officer, Firefighter and Fire Communications Officer.

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Do I have to pay a fee to take a municipal fire and police civil service test?


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If I take an entrance Police Officer, Firefighter, entry level Police Communications Officer, or entry level Fire Communications Officer test and fail, or simply wish to improve my score, do I have to wait a specific time period before taking it again?

No. Because civil service law allows you to take the Police Officer, Firefighter, entry level Police Communications Officer, and entry level Fire Communications Officer tests in one jurisdiction and report your score to others, these exams can be taken as often as they are given. This, of course, is provided that your application is submitted to the respective civil service boards for whom the tests are being given, and approval to take the respective exam has been given.

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What about tests for other classifications, such as Jailer, Secretary to the Chief, or Records Clerk? Can my score for any of these tests be reported to other boards, and can these tests be taken often as well?

Civil service law does not allow scores to be reported between jurisdictions for classes other than those of entrance Police Officer, Firefighter, entry level Police Communications Officer, and entry level Fire Communications Officer; therefore, you would not be able to take these tests more frequently than they are offered in the jurisdiction where you wish to work - usually a twelve- to eighteen-month interval.

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Can I have veterans' points added to my score?

You may have five (5) veterans' points added to your passing score only, and for the entrance classes. If you have claimed veterans' preference on your application for admission to the test, and have provided a copy of your Form DD-214, these points will be added by the civil service board upon approval of your exam score. As it relates to the entrance Firefighter, Police Officer, Police Communications Officer, and Fire Communications Officer exams, because these scores may be reported to another civil service board, only the test score is reported. You must claim veterans' preference and provide documentation with applications to every board to which you wish to report your score in order to have the veterans' preference points added.

Five-point veteran's preference is available to former military personnel who were discharged under honorable conditions from active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during a war, or in a peacetime campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized, including the following wartime periods:

    1. 06/27/50 - 01/31/55 (Korean Conflict)
    2. During the period of more than 180 consecutive days, any part of which occurred between 01/31/55 and 10/15/76 (including the Vietnam era), not including active duty for training in Reserves or National Guard;
    3. From 08/02/90 - 01/02/92 (Gulf War).

If your service began after October 15, 1976, you must have received a Campaign Badge, or Expeditionary Medal. Campaigns or expeditions for which such medals have been authorized include El Salvador, Lebanon, Granada, Panama, Southwest Asia, Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Medal holders and Gulf War veterans who originally enlisted after September 7, 1980, (or began active duty on or after October 14, 1982, and have not previously completed 24 months of continuous active duty) must have served continuously for 24 months or the full period called or ordered to active duty.

Note: If your DD-214 does not provide proof of entitlement for preference, you must obtain an amended DD-214 or other written documentation showing award of Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

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Can someone be an employee of a fire department or police department, but choose not be in the classified service?

Employees and appointing authorities do not have the option to determine what positions are to be included or excluded from the classified fire and police services. The duties assigned to full-time positions determines which positions are included under civil service according to civil service law.

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What defines a position as classified or unclassified?

According to civil service law, certain positions of employment in the fire and police departments are required to be included in the classified service, while some positions are specifically excluded. Those which are not part of the classified service include, among others, elected officials, department secretaries, stenographers, porters, custodians, mechanics helpers, and part-time employees. Therefore, there may be positions of employment in either department which are not classified.

Positions which must be included in the classified fire service are those which have the primary duty and responsibility of the following: chief, assistant chiefs, intradepartmental division, bureau, squad, platoon, and company officers of the department; fire fighting; fire prevention and fire inspection; driving, tillering, and operation of fire apparatus; operations and maintenance of radio, fire alarm, or signal system; fire training; fire salvage and overhauling services; first aid, advanced life support, and emergency medical services; automotive or fire apparatus repairs; and, secretary to the chief and departmental records clerks.

Positions which must be included in the classified police service are those which have the primary duty and responsibility of the following: chief, assistant chiefs, the intradepartmental division, bureau, squad, platoon, and company officers of the police department; law enforcement; crime prevention, identification, inspection, and investigation; police headquarters desk service, jailer, and police matron; operations and maintenance of radio, police alarm, or signal system; police training; traffic control; automotive or police apparatus repair; and secretary to the chief and departmental records clerks.

Positions are created by the appointing authority as the needs of the service require. When a position is created, the appointing authority must notify the local civil service board. The board, with the assistance of the State Examiner's Office, then evaluates the position in order to determine whether it should be included in the classified service, according to the duties assigned. Neither the appointing authority nor the employee may determine whether a position should be included in the classified fire or police service. Such a determination may be made only by the local civil service board.

If you wish to seek a full-time, permanent position with a fire or police department which involves the primary duties and responsibilities listed in the latter two paragraphs, you must first qualify for employment eligibility by passing a civil service exam for the position. Taking and passing an examination begins the employment process whereby the appointing authority fills vacancies.

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What is the recruit period?

The recruit period is the initial period of employment required for all newly appointed Firefighters or Police Officers, during which the new employee must obtain Firefighter I certification or Police Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) certification, respectively. The maximum time that a new employee serves as a recruit is six months; however, upon obtaining the appropriate certification anytime during the six-month period, the recruit moves immediately from recruit status to probational status, the working test period. If, by the end of the six-month recruit period, the recruit fails to obtain certification, the appointing authority has the discretion of placing the recruit in a working test, or separating the recruit from service. Persons who have already obtained certification at the time of selection from the employment list do not serve a recruit period, but must begin the working test immediately upon appointment.

However, R.S. 33:2495.3 and R.S. 33:2555.2 relating to the cities of Baton Rouge, Bossier City, Houma, Lafayette, and Shreveport, and the fire protection district of Calcasieu Parish Ward 4 District 2, provide that no person selected for appointment to an entry-level position in the classified service from the competitive firefighter employment list who has not successfully completed formal training shall begin the working test period. The formal training period shall mean the enrollment in and successful completion of a fire training academy provided for through the appointing authority. All persons selected for appointment to an entry-level position as a firefighter in the classified service shall sucessfully complete the fire training academy whether or not such person was certified as a Firefighter I in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association Standard 1001 prior to his employment. Also, the fire training academy shall be for a duration as determined by the appointing authority. Upon the successful completion of the fire training academy, the recruit shall immediately begin the working test period.

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What is a probational appointment?

When an employee is first appointed to a classified position, he or she must serve a working test or "probationary" period of at least six months, but not to exceed one year. During this period of time the appointing authority evaluates the employee's ability to perform the duties of the position. When an employee proves his/her ability after serving at least six months, the appointing authority may confirm the appointment and the employee becomes permanent in the position.

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I am approaching the end of my working test, and I've been advised by the appointing authority that I will not be confirmed. Can I appeal this decision to the civil service board?

For all probational employees in the fire service who have served a working test period of six (6) months to one (1) year, you may appeal only upon the grounds that you were not given a fair opportunity to prove your ability in the position.

For all probational employees in the police service appointed to a position in a competitive class who have served a working test period of six (6) months to one (1) year, you may appeal only upon the grounds that you were not given a fair opportunity to prove your ability in the position.

For all probational employees in the police service appointed to a position in a promotional class who have served a working test period of three (3) months to one (1) year, you may appeal only upon the grounds that you were not given a fair opportunity to prove your ability in the position.

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What is "fair opportunity" in the working test?

Since the working test is a period of evaluation during which the employee's performance is more closely scrutinized, fair opportunity is that which affords the employee sufficient challenge to demonstrate that he or she is able and willing to perform the duties of the position, and that he or she possesses the habits and dependability necessary to be successful in the position. For example, if the appointing authority assigns a probationary Firefighter to radio dispatch, and restricts her from performing fire suppression duties during the working test period, the Firefighter may appeal to the civil service board upon the grounds that she was not given sufficient opportunity to perform the duties of a Firefighter. On the other hand, if a probational Assistant Fire Chief has been given sufficient opportunity to perform the duties of his class, and has shown by his actions that he is not dependable, has poor work habits, and/or challenges authority, it is considered that he does not have sufficient grounds to appeal the action. Of course, the appointing authority is required to notify the employee and the civil service board in writing, the reasons for rejecting the employee from the working test. The civil service board should use this documentation in order to determine if a hearing is to be granted.

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Can an employee who resigns from the classified fire or police service be re-employed?

Yes. Civil Service Law provides that a regular employee of the classified service (that is, an employee who has been confirmed after having served a working test) may be re-employed if the re-employment occurs within four years of the date of resignation and provided no person on the reinstatement list (resulting from non-disciplinary demotions), promotional employment list, or re-employment list (lay-off situation) is willing to accept an appointment to a position to which the former employee is applying. In order to be re-employed, the appointing authority of the fire or police department must obtain prior approval of the local civil service board. The former employee must also provide a favorable medical certificate to the appointing authority and the board following a recent medical exam. (See R.S. 33:2490(D) and 33:2550(D).) The employee may be re-employed under this provision and probationally appointed to any position that he or she held as a regular and permanent employee.

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If I am re-employed, would I have to serve another working test period?

If you are re-employed you must complete another working test of not less than six months.

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If I resign to go to work for another department that is in the municipal fire and police civil service system, may I be hired at my current rank, and will my seniority count at the new job?

If you resign from your department you lose all accumulated seniority in the classified service. You may not be employed at your current rank; rather, you may be employed with the other department only by qualifying for and taking an entrance test. You may qualify for and take tests (if offered) to be considered for positions in other competitive classes in the other department, but you will not be eligible for future promotions in the line classes unless you begin again at the entrance level position of Firefighter or Police Officer. A person hired competitively in a specific division, such as Fire Prevention, would, however, be eligible for promotion within that division.

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If I resign, and later come back to work for the same department, won't the time I served with the department before I resigned count toward my total seniority?

No. An employee who resigns from the classified service forever loses all accumulated seniority, and seniority would begin again upon confirmation following successful completion of the working test. (Please note that our comments pertain only to civil service issues, and are not intended to comment on how such a re-employment might impact supplemental pay and your retirement.)

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How is seniority counted?

Seniority is counted in calendar days, from the current date back to the date of confirmation in the entrance class, less suspensions and any leaves of absence without pay and seniority.

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What is the difference between a substitute appointment and a provisional appointment?

First, it is necessary to point out that both appointments are temporary appointments to which the incumbent acquires no permanent status.

Whenever an employee is on any type of approved leave of absence (for example, annual leave, sick leave, or military leave) the position continues to be occupied. If the appointing authority needs someone to temporarily perform the duties of a position in place of the incumbent who is on leave, a substitute may be appointed. For absences that last fewer than thirty days, the appointing authority may put anyone in the position he deems qualified; however, civil service law provides that if a substitute is needed for more than thirty days, the appointing authority must offer the appointment to the most senior person on the promotional eligibility list. We recommend that substitute appointments, sometimes referred to as "step-ups", should be for the duration of the incumbent's absence.

Provisional appointments are temporary appointments which are made whenever an incumbent has permanently vacated his position through separation, promotion, or demotion, and there is no eligibility list from which a probational appointment may be made. Provisional appointments may be made of anyone the appointing authority deems qualified, although it is our advice that the person selected meet the qualification requirements for the class as adopted by the local civil service board. The period for each provisional appointment may not be for more than three months, although civil service law allows only one extension of an additional three months upon the approval of the local civil service board. The civil service board must call for an examination anytime a provisional appointment is made.

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If an employee is on leave of absence, is the appointing authority required to make a substitute appointment?

Substitute appointments are not required, but may be made if the appointing authority deems it necessary for departmental operations. Some classes do not require anyone to assume the duties in the absence of an incumbent, which others do. A Fire Driver position might need to be filled, in most cases, while it may not be necessary to do so in the case of a Planning and Research Officer.

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I've been transferred to another shift, and I don't like the new assignment. May I appeal the transfer to the civil service board?

Any employee may be transferred from any position in the classified service to any other position of the same class within the classified service at the pleasure of the appointing authority without notice to and confirmation by the board. Any regular employee so transferred may appeal to the board, but only for the following reasons:

    1. the transfer was made to a position not included within the class to which the employee was previously allocated;
    2. the position to which he has been transferred is not included within the classified service;
    3. the transfer was made deliberately to discriminate against him;
    4. the employee "feels" he has been subjected to disciplinary action.

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There are rumors going around about lay-offs. I'm a Police Lieutenant, so the lay-off probably won't affect me, right?

Your insulation from lay-offs depends upon the extent of cuts that may have to be made, and the organizational structure of your department. If you are included in a budget reduction lay-off scheme, you may or may not be laid-off, or you may find that you may be demoted to a lower class. Lay-offs are made in the order of persons having the least seniority in the overburdened class. In any event, the civil service board must place your name upon a reinstatement list for a period not to exceed four years. Should a vacancy occur in the class of positions from which you were laid-off or demoted during the four-year period, the appointing authority must offer it to you and to any other persons whose name are on the reinstatement list, in the order of seniority.

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I'm in the military reserve and my unit is being deployed overseas for twelve months. What happens to my position with the department?

Once you have exceeded the amount of paid military leave that you are authorized per year, you will be placed on unpaid military leave of absence until you are released from military duty. You will continue to be employed with the department and your military duty will count toward your departmental seniority.

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What if I miss a test or a promotion during my military leave?

If you miss any promotional opportunities for which you would have been otherwise eligible during your absence, you may apply to your civil service board to take the promotional exam in order that your name may be placed upon the eligibility list. If you pass the exam, and an appointment had been made while you were on military leave and you would have had more seniority than the other eligibles at the time the appointment was made, you must be offered the position.

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There is a Police Captain in our department who is wearing the badge and other insignia of an Assistant Police Chief. Is this appropriate?

Civil service law (LRS 33:2485 and 33:2545) provides:

The title of each class shall be the official title of every position allocated to the class, for all purposes having to do with the position as such, and shall be used to the exclusion of all other titles . . .

It is only appropriate for the Police Captain to wear the insignia designated for use by the class of Police Captain. The display of insignia or other symbols of a higher rank indicates that this employee has been given certain authority over positions of other classes, which may be considered tacit or concrete evidence that the appointing authority has created a position of a different class. Civil service law (LRS 33:2484 and 33:2544) also provides:

. . .whenever the duties of a position are so changed by the appointing authority that the position in effect becomes one of a different class from that to which it is allocated, the change shall operate to abolish the position and to create a new position of the different class.

The civil service board should take action necessary to allocate the position to the appropriate class, and to assure that the position is filled in accordance with the law.

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A District Fire Chief recently retired, and there is an active eligibility list. The appointing authority seems to be taking a long time to make an appointment. Doesn't the position have to be filled right away?

If there is a bona fide vacancy, the appointing authority is required to make an appointment within sixty days of the occurrence of the vacancy. However, inasmuch as the appointing authority may expand or contract the number of positions in classifications as the needs of the service require, the appointing authority may have abolished the position following the former District Fire Chief's retirement. If someone is currently performing the duties which were performed by the District Fire Chief prior to retirement, there is evidence that the position has not been abolished, and should be filled in accordance with civil service law.

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May I request a voluntary demotion?

Yes.   We advise that an employee may request to be demoted voluntarily to a position in a class the employee previously held as a regular and permanent employee; however, the appointing authority is not required to grant such requests. If the request is granted, the employee must perform the duties of the class of positions to which he/she is demoted, and the employee’s pay must be adjusted according to the pay plan of the class to which he/she is demoted. When demotions are made for any reason other than disciplinary action, and the employee is confirmed in the class from which he is being voluntarily demoted, the employee's name must be placed on a reinstatement list for four (4) years from the date of the demotion. When an employee takes a voluntary demotion from a probational appointment however, they are removing themselves from the working test period and are not afforded reinstatement rights. The employee should not be added to the reinstatement list and time previously served in the working test period will not count toward a future promotion.

Names are placed on the reinstatement list in the order in which the demotions are made. When a vacancy occurs in a class for which a name is on a reinstatement list, the appointing authority must first offer the appointment to the individual whose name is on the reinstatement list, prior to offering the appointment to any person whose name appears on the eligibility list. The law provides that if the offer of reinstatement is declined, the civil service board may remove the name from the reinstatement list. We advise, however, that the employee write to the appointing authority and the civil service board advising that he will notify both entities whenever he is ready to accept a reinstatement. This would allow the appointing authority to proceed with filling future vacancies without having to offer the appointment to the employee every time a vacancy occurs and protect the rights of the employee who requested the voluntary demotion. Therefore, the employee’s name would remain on the reinstatement list until reinstated or for four years, whichever occurs first. If, after a voluntary demotion, the employee wishes to go back to a position in the class previously held and requests a reinstatement, the appointing authority is not obligated to create a position in the class in order to reinstate the employee. The appointing authority must, however, offer the next vacancy to the employee.


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Disciplinary Actions and Appeals

Is it true that once an employee becomes confirmed in the classified service, he can never be terminated?

It is not true. Civil service law provides that the tenure of persons who have been regularly and permanently inducted into positions of the classified service shall be during good behavior, and provides that the appointing authority may remove any employee from the service for as many as fifteen reasons, the first of which is the unwillingness or failure to perform the duties of his position in a satisfactory manner. (See R.S. 33:2500 and 33:2560.)

It is a common misconception that it is nearly impossible to terminate civil service employees due to the protections afforded them by law. While it is true that civil service law exists to protect public employees from removal or disciplinary action when the action taken was not in good faith for cause, it is not intended to harbor poor performance. It is the appointing authority's obligation, and the civil service board's responsibility, to assure that the standards of public service are maintained. Employees may be removed from service for cause, and we advise that there is no substitute for maintaining accurate and contemporaneous records of employee performance and counseling which may be of great benefit at the time that disciplinary action must be contemplated. Furthermore, we recommend that any disciplinary action which may involve the termination of a regular and permanent classified employee should always include an issuance of the Firefighter Bill of Rights or Police Officer Bill of Rights and a pre-termination hearing in accordance with the decision of Loudermill v. Cleveland Board of Education (1983) 721 F.2d 550.

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I realize that there are prohibitions against political activities by classified employees, but doesn't the punishment for engaging in political activity depend on the how much the employee was involved?

No. If a classified fire or police employee is guilty of engaging in any type of political activity, except to cast his or her vote, or to privately express his or her opinion, he or she is subject to penalties outlined in R.S. 33:2564 and R.S. 33:2504. Based upon investigation by the appointing authority, if the employee is determined to have engaged in prohibited political activity, he or she shall be suspended for thirty work days without pay for a first violation or discharged for a second violation. If the civil service board conducts an investigation and finds prohibited political activity, for the first offense, in addition to the thirty work day suspension, the board shall also mandate educational training on political activity.

If an employee is found to be a candidate for nomination or running for election for a public office, the only penalty for this particular offense is termination.

In addition, any employee terminated for prohibited political activity shall not be eligible for employment or public office in the classified system for a period of six (6) years from the time of his discharge.

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What kinds of disciplinary actions can the appointing authority take against a classified employee?

Disciplinary actions include suspensions without pay for a period not to exceed the aggregate of ninety days in any period of twelve consecutive months, reduction in pay to the rate prevailing for the next lower class, reduction or demotion to a position of any lower class and to the rate of pay prevailing therefor, or such other less drastic action that may be appropriate under the circumstances.

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Is there a limit to the duration of suspensions without pay?

The appointing authority may suspend a classified employee for not more than the aggregate of ninety (90) days in any period of twelve consecutive months. For example, if a classified employee was suspended for three days on May 1, 2003, he cannot be suspended for ninety days on December 15, 2003, because the total days of suspension (93) would be greater than the aggregate of 90 days during a twelve consecutive month period.

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Should suspensions be given in terms of hours, days, or shifts?

LRS 33:2500(B) and 33:2560(B) refer to suspensions in terms of days (" . . .the aggregate of ninety days"). We strongly advise against suspensions in hours because of the difficulty in computing seniority in such cases.

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How do I appeal to the civil service board to grant me a hearing following a disciplinary action?

Within fifteen days of the disciplinary action, you must submit a written request to the board for a hearing and investigation to determine the reasonableness of the action. The board must grant the employee a hearing and investigation within thirty days after receipt of the request.

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Do I have to receive a personnel action form in order to appeal a disciplinary action?

No. You may receive a letter from the appointing authority notifying you of the action and reasons it is being taken against you. The law also provides that you may appeal any action if you feel you have been subjected to disciplinary action. We advise appointing authorities that you should be provided a copy of the personnel action form after it has been signed by the appointing authority, but prior to board approval.

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How formal are these hearings?

Civil service law provides that the board shall have complete charge of the hearing and may conduct them in any manner it deems advisable, without prejudice to any person or party" and the procedures Ashall be informal and not necessarily bound by the legalistic rules of evidence."

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If I appeal a disciplinary action, and the civil service board determines the action was too severe, can the board modify it to a lesser penalty?

Yes, the board may modify any disciplinary action (termination, suspension, demotion, etc.) to a lesser number of suspension days, a reduction in pay, a demotion to a lower class with reduction in pay or other lesser punitive punishment that is found appropriate under the circumstance..

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To whom do I appeal if I don't agree with the board's decision?

Appeals of decisions of the board which are prejudicial to either the appellant or the appointing authority must be taken to District Court.

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As appointing authority, I have placed one of my officers on suspension without pay pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. If the investigation confirms my suspicions, my plan is to demote him. I have been advised that I should not do this. Why not?

A suspension without pay is a disciplinary action under civil service law. If you place the offending employee on suspension without pay, it may be considered that you have already taken corrective action for the offense. Although the outcome of the investigation may indicate a more severe penalty is in order, a suspension and subsequent demotion may be considered two separate disciplinary actions for one offense, and may put the employee in a position of double jeopardy. We recommend that employees suspected of violating departmental policies and procedures should be placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an investigation. Such action does not disadvantage the employee who could otherwise impede the investigation if he were allowed to remain on duty. Disciplinary action may then be imposed if the investigation confirms your suspicions. Of course, the employee should be afforded his due process.

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I was demoted, and a co-worker was terminated recently. We have appealed the disciplinary actions to our civil service board, but our hearings have not yet been held. In the meantime, the board has called for a promotional test for which we feel we should be able to apply, since there is a chance the board may overturn the appointing authority’s action and reinstate us. May we still apply to take the test, even though I have been demoted and my co-worker has been terminated?

Yes. There is a possibility that the civil service board may overturn the appointing authority’s action if it is determined as a result of your hearings that the adverse actions were not taken in good faith for cause. If you and your coworker were not permitted to take the test, you may be disadvantaged in your promotional opportunities even if you were to be reinstated. We recommend that you apply to the civil service board for admission to the promotional exam as though you had not been disciplined. Remember, however, that it is your responsibility to submit your application to the civil service board during the application period. An employee’s application for admission to a test cannot be accepted after the deadline for submitting applications has passed, nor may the examination be administered to him retroactively. Civil service law is very clear that each person comprising a group of candidates being tested at a given time for the same class of employment shall be given the same test, and it shall be administered in the same manner to each candidate. (R.S. 33:2492.A. and 33:2552.1.)

We advise that the board should approve your applications (if you otherwise meet the minimum qualification requirements), and conditionally admit you to the exam. The State Examiner’s Office will withhold your scores until we are advised by the board of the outcome of the hearing. If you are reinstated, we will report your scores to the board. If you have passed the exam, the board should re-certify the list of eligibles to the appointing authority, adding your names to the list.

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Civil Service Boards


What are the qualifications for civil service board members?

In order to serve on a municipal fire and police civil service board, one must be a citizen of the United States, a qualified voter in the area served, and a resident of the area served for a period of not less than five years immediately preceding appointment to the board. (Classified employees elected to serve on the board may be permitted by resolution of the governing authority to reside within the parish in which the area is domiciled.) Persons elected to public office or candidates for public office are prohibited from serving on the board, as are public employees (this does not include the classified employee members, members of the military, and notaries.) Also, no person may be appointed to the board who, for a period of not less than six months preceding his or her appointment, has been a member of a local, state, or national committee of a political party, or as a member or officer of a factional political club or organization. As it relates to classified employees, no employee may be appointed to or serve on the board if he or she holds a position of chief, assistant chief, district chief, or battalion chief in the fire service; or chief, assistant chief, or major in the police service.

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What are the terms of office for civil service board members?

Civil service board members serve three-year terms. When the classified service is originally established in a jurisdiction, the employee members serve only one year, the governing authority serves two years, and the members appointed from the college list serve three years. At the expiration of these initial terms of office, all subsequent terms are for three-year periods. This provides for staggered terms of office which assures a continuity of experience.

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How are civil service board members selected and appointed?

One member is selected and appointed by the governing authority. Two members are appointed from a list of four nominees which is provided by the executive head of a regularly chartered and established four-year institute of higher education in the area served. If there is no such institute in the area served, the name is provided in the same manner by the executive head of such an institution within the state which is most geographically proximate to the area. Two employee members, one from each department, are elected by the regular and permanent (confirmed) employees within the department. The chief of each department provides for the elections within his respective department, and may vote only in the case of a tie. The civil service board consists of three members where there is but one service. All civil service board members are appointed by the governing authority.

(Note: By special legislation enacted in 1999, the civil service board in the City of Shreveport is comprised of a nine-member board.)

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In order to make a college list appointment to the civil service board, is the governing authority allowed to submit to the college head a list of persons he or she wishes to appoint to the board?

Civil service law provides that the governing authority must make the appointment from a list of four persons whose names originate from the executive head of the four year institute of higher education.

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While serving on the board, shouldn't my allegiance be to the entity that caused me to be appointed to the board? If I'm an employee elected to serve on the board, shouldn't I give more consideration to the employees' issues?

Civil service board members take an oath of office to uphold the law, and their duties are to represent the public interest, not to represent primarily or exclusively the interests of those who caused them to be appointed to the board. Therefore, members should not consider that they are the advocates for these entities.

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Is the civil service board required to adopt rules, and what is required of the civil service board when changes to the classification plan and board rules are necessary?

Louisiana Revised Statutes 33:2477(7) and (8) and 33:2537(7) and (8) require that the civil service board shall adopt rules necessary to carry out effectively the provisions of the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Law, and shall adopt and maintain a classification plan. R.S. 33:2478 and 33:2538 provide that the board must hold a public hearing following a notification period of at least thirty days, and advise the Mayor, Commissioner of Public Safety, and other commissioners, the department Chiefs and each station which may be affected by the adoption of the proposed rule, as well as the State Examiner. Each notification must include the date, time, and place where the public hearing is to be held, and a copy of the proposed rule. Rules adopted by the board have the force and effect of law. The classification plan is considered to be a "rule of the board" by civil service law.

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Does the chairman of the civil service board have a vote, or does he or she only vote in the case of a tie?

The chairman of the civil service board is a bona fide member of the board. He or she may make motions and may vote on any motion before the board.

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How often is the civil service board required to hold meetings?

At a minimum, civil service boards must meet once each quarter of the calendar year.

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What constitutes a quorum?

Four members of a five-member board, and two members of a three-member board.

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If the board is not able to convene a special meeting, and an important issue needs to be resolved, can action be taken by phoning each board member or holding a conference call?

No. The civil service board is a public body subject to the "Sunshine Laws". It may therefore not conduct business which excludes public access.

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How many votes are necessary to pass a motion?

Three votes constitutes a majority of a five-member board and two votes constitutes a majority on a three-member board.

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From whom does the board obtain its funding?

Civil service law provides that the governing authority shall make adequate annual appropriates to enable to board to effectively carry out its duties, and shall furnish the board with office space, furnishings, equipment, supplies and materials necessary for its operation.

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If the governing authority is not pleased with the actions of the board, can he remove members and appoint others in their places?

No. Once appointed, civil service board members cannot be removed except under extraordinary circumstances. Such restrictions contribute to assurances of freedom from manipulation by political influences. The only way a civil service board member may be removed is by petition of twenty-five citizens and taxpayers of the municipality, parish or fire protection district, as the case may be, of which the board member is a resident. The petition must be submitted to the district attorney of the district in which the board member resides, who must join with the attorney , and, according to civil service law, shall associate in the diligent prosecution of such suit any attorney selected and employed by the citizens and taxpayers.

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Where do I find the laws that are applicable to the fire and police service, but which are not civil service laws?

Louisiana Revised Statutes that address fire and police departments may be found in Title 33, Chapter 4. Part I applies to both fire and police departments and includes R.S. 33:1941 through 33:1946. Part II applies only to fire departments and includes R.S. 33:1961 through 33:2185. Part III applies to police departments and includes R.S. 33:2191 through 33:2337. Visitors to the Legislature's website (http://www.legis.state.la.us/) may search to specific statutes or review the complete table of contents of all Louisiana laws.

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