Point System - Meetings
The next point system category is meetings:
(v)Attendance at meetings—twenty points maximum.
The biggest issue that surrounds the meeting category are what types of meetings qualify as a meeting for the purposes of this category.
The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) has issued two legal opinions about the meeting category. Comptroller Opinion 94-25 states that meetings of an emergency rescue and first aid squad, fire police squad, or the executive board of a fire company, are not considered meetings for the purposes of this category. The reason given is that these meetings are not of the entire membership of the fire company.
The second is Opinion 95-9, states that committee meetings are not eligible for points under this category, neither are meetings of the fire district (i.e., commissioner meetings).
In both cases, the Opinions state that committee, squad, and executive board meetings could qualify for points under the Miscellaneous category.
It would appear reasonable that meetings would include department meetings as well. In one-company departments, this isn't a significant issue. However, for multi-company departments that hold a routine department-wide meeting, it appears reasonable to give a meeting point for department meetings as well. Although there isn't any direct guidance from the OSC on this issue.
The sign-in procedures are important for meetings, as well as drills and miscellaneous activities. Meetings is often where we hear about members signing-in other members on the attendance sheet. Everyone should sign themselves into a meeting. It should be a very rare and special circumstance when someone signs in another person, and there should be procedures for this (such as, the president and vice president must initial, and/or record that this is happening in the meeting minutes).
Another point that comes up often is what happens if someone does not attend the entire meeting - either shows up late or leaves early. There is no guidance on this issue, so each sponsor can make its own determination o the best practice here.
Yet another frequent question is what if there is a call during the meeting? Any active volunteer firefighter at the meeting and that is able to respond would then be given a response credit, since they were there and in theory was available to attend the call. In theory, the meeting point can also be earned, subject to any special rules the sponsor may make about not attending the complete meeting.
Finally, another "double-dipping" scenario is what if the department utilizes the sleep-in or stand-by category as a way to have volunteers on call, in particular for fire departments that run ambulance operations. If someone is participating in a stand-by at the same time a meeting is going on, can the person get the points for both? I don't see why not - if the person attends the meeting while fulfilling the required hours for a stand-by, I don't see an issue (same could be said about taking an online training course during a sleep-in or stand-by). If you have this scenario, it would be good to run that by the local attorney.
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