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General Laws

Section 61A. The administrator, with the secretary of public safety and the commissioner of public health shall establish initial health and physical fitness standards which shall be applicable to all police officers and firefighters when they are appointed to permanent, temporary, intermittent, or reserve positions in cities and towns or other governmental units. Such standards shall be established by regulations promulgated by the administrator after consultation with representatives of police and firefighter unions, and the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this paragraph, any municipality may adopt, subject to collective bargaining, stricter health and physical fitness standards. Such initial health and physical fitness standards shall be rationally related to the duties of such positions and shall have the purpose of minimizing health and safety risks to the public, fellow workers and the police officers and firefighters themselves.

No person appointed to a permanent, temporary or intermittent, or reserve police or firefighter position after November first, nineteen hundred and ninety-six shall perform the duties of such position until he shall have undergone initial medical and physical fitness examinations and shall have met such initial standards. The appointing board or officer shall provide initial medical and physical fitness examinations. If such person fails to pass an initial medical or physical fitness examination, he shall be eligible to undergo a reexamination within 16 weeks of the date of the failure of the initial examination. If he fails to pass the reexamination, his appointment shall be rescinded. No such person shall commence service or receive his regular compensation until such person passes the health examination or reexamination.

The administrator, shall establish in-service health and physical fitness standards which shall be applicable to all police officers and firefighters in permanent, temporary, intermittent, and reserve positions in cities and towns. Such standards shall be established by regulations promulgated by the administrator after consultation with representatives of police and firefighters unions, and the Massachusetts Municipal Association. Notwithstanding the provisions of this paragraph, any municipality may adopt, subject to collective bargaining, stricter in-service health and physical fitness standards. Such in-service health and physical fitness standards shall be rationally related to the duties of such positions and shall have the purpose of minimizing health and safety risks to the public, fellow workers, and the police officers and firefighters themselves. Such standards shall take into account the age of the police officer or firefighter.

All police officers and firefighters in such positions shall undergo in-service medical and physical fitness examinations at such time intervals as the administrator shall determine, but no less frequently than once every four years. Any police officer or firefighter appointed to such a position after November first, nineteen hundred and ninety-six shall be required to maintain his health and physical fitness at a level which meets such in-service standards. If a police officer or firefighter appointed to such a position after November first, nineteen hundred and ninety-six fails to pass such an in-service examination, he shall be eligible to undergo a reexamination within 16 weeks of the date of the in-service medical or physical fitness examination failed. If he fails the reexamination, he shall be eligible to undergo a second reexamination within 16 weeks of the date of the first reexamination. If he fails to pass the second reexamination, his appointing authority shall be notified and his employment status shall be terminated, subject only to the procedural requirements of the applicable collective bargaining agreement or section 41. The sole substantive issue for determination by an arbitrator, administrative law judge, civil service commissioner or personnel administrator pursuant to this paragraph, shall be whether conditions beyond the control of the employee mitigate sufficiently against termination and warrant a subsequent reexamination at a time determined by the arbitrator, administrative law judge, civil service commissioner, or personnel administrator within one year of the decision. Reexamination shall be the sole and exclusive remedy available to the arbitrator, administrative law judge, civil service commissioner, or personnel administrator.

If the appointment of a police officer or firefighter is terminated or not renewed in accordance with this section, he may apply for superannuation, ordinary disability, or accidental disability retirement benefits as provided in chapter thirty-two. A police officer or firefighter whose appointment is terminated or not renewed because of his failure to meet in-service health or physical fitness standards shall not be presumed by virtue of such termination or nonrenewal to be disabled for pension purposes.

The administrator shall establish procedures for the administration of such medical and physical fitness examinations by cities and towns. Such examinations may be administered at the police academy or at the firefighting academy in accordance with such procedures.

The provisions of this section shall apply to all police officers and firefighters in cities, towns, districts, or other governmental units which have accepted the provisions of this section and section sixty-one B.

The personnel administrator shall submit regulations promulgated pursuant to this section to the clerks of the house of representatives and senate, who shall refer said regulations to the appropriate standing committee of the general court. The committee shall transmit in writing to the administrator its recommendations, if any, for modifications to said regulations. Within fifteen days of receipt of any such recommendations, the administrator shall resubmit said regulations to said committee together with any modifications made thereto. If the general court takes no final action relative to said regulations within forty-five days of the date on which said regulations are first referred to said committee, said regulations shall be filed with the state secretary pursuant to the provisions of section five of chapter thirty A. No such regulations shall take effect until filed with the state secretary in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph.

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