The next point system category is Elected or Appointed Positions. Here is the text of the statute:
(iv) Elected or appointed position (see definition)—twenty-five points maximum.
(A) Completion of one year term in an elected or appointed position. If the term of office for a firefighter who has been elected or appointed to a position in a fire company or fire department commences during the month of May, the participant shall receive credit for the full year notwithstanding the fact that the participant has not completed one year in the elected or appointed position at the end of the calendar year in which he or she was elected or appointed.
(B) An active volunteer firefighter elected to serve as a delegate to a firefighters’ convention shall also be eligible to receive one point per meeting.
You will notice a parenthetical “see definition”, which is:
12.“Elected or appointed position” means line officers, department or company officers and president, vice president, treasurer and secretary of a fire company or department.
The statute says “completion of a one year term.” Given the language that comes after that initial sentence, it seems that the intention is that a firefighter must complete the full term in order to receive the points. That would appear to be the “most correct” answer, as I like to put it. However, we have seen many point systems that provide a certain number of points per month, one of which we know was audited by the State. The State did not comment on that part of the point system, but it also didn’t “bless” that approach either.
The language after the initial sentence was added to the statute effective September 1, 1995. So some point systems adopted prior to that date may not have this language. The bill text that can be found on the State’s website does not include a text memo to explain why this amendment was necessary. So I am not 100% certain why this is here. I was able to find in Village law language about officers being appointed in April, so perhaps then the term would start in May. I did not do an exhaustive search on this issue, so may need to re-visit it in the future. Regardless, I believe the point is that if a special exception had to be made to award the full year of points for an office that started in May, that the intention is that the full year must be served to be awarded the officer points.
So should a point system be designed to pro-rate officer points between two people? This is something that comes up often – someone must resign mid-year and another person takes up the position. Based on what was said above, it would seem the most correct answer based on the literal reading of the statute is that neither would receive the points. That just seems unreasonable. So if your past practice has been to pro-rate points between these two individuals, it is critical that your point system includes that written procedure. That seems like a reasonable approach.
Awarding points to a delegate is another tricky issue, since it isn’t clear what a “firefighter’s convention” is exactly. We spent a lot of time covering that in another post, which you can read here:
In the audit of the Luzerne-Hadley Fire District, the State auditor wrote in the report that “the District must specify each position the the total number of credits [sic] that members can earn for each position.” So it seems reasonable that a point system can be adopted so that different offices receive different point values – but make sure those offices and point values are specified.
Recently the there have been two State audit reports that have commented on the definition of an elected or appointed position, and if certain positions meet that definition. Recently in the audit of the Jamesport Fire District, the audit report criticizes the District for granting 10 points to former chiefs. The report indicates that a former chief does not meet the definition of an elected or appointed position in the statute. In the audit of the Village of Southampton LOSAP, the Village was criticized for awarding points to committee members under this category. The report stated that in their view, committee membership does not meet the definition of an elected or appointed position as defined in the statute.
In view of these two audits, it is important to review your point system to ensure the officers match the definition in the statute. Since the definition is fairly broad – it says points can be awarded to department or company officers – it would be important to ensure the office is in the department or company by-laws as an actual office that is held.