Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
SECTION 1. It is hereby recognized that Protection Fire Co. No. 1 Byfield, Massachusetts and Protection Fire Co. No. 2 have played a unique role in the history of the town of Newbury. The town seeks to preserve the special relationship it has shared with the fire companies in the provision of fire protection services to the town. It is further recognized that to best leverage the limited financial and physical resources of the town of Newbury, the continued relationship of the town with these fire companies will provide important supplementary resources and support to maintain the high level of fire protection services the people of the town have come to expect.
SECTION 2. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, 2 fire companies within the jurisdictional limits of the town of Newbury may provide services to the town under the operational control of a single board of fire engineers. The board of fire engineers shall be appointed annually by the board of selectmen as provided in section 45 of chapter 48 of the General Laws. The chief engineer shall have the duties and responsibilities of the fire chief for the town of Newbury. Any member of the board of fire engineers may be removed for cause by the board of selectmen at any time after a hearing. Nothing in this act shall grant tenure to any member of the board of fire engineers.
SECTION 3. (a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b), the board of fire engineers and the fire chief shall have the duties and responsibilities described in this subsection. The fire chief shall have general charge of extinguishing fires in the town of Newbury and the protection of life and property in case of fire or other emergency. The board of fire engineers and the fire chief shall have and exercise all the powers and discharge all the duties conferred or imposed by statute upon engineers in towns and upon fire chiefs, except as herein provided. The board of fire engineers shall appoint 1 or more deputy fire chiefs and such other officers and firefighters as the board considers necessary or appropriate and may remove the same for cause at any time after a hearing. Any firefighter appointed pursuant to this act shall serve a probationary period of 1 year, during which time such person shall perform the duties of a firefighter and may be removed at any time after a hearing. While responding to a fire or other emergency, all officers and firefighters appointed by the board of fire engineers shall be considered employees of the town, subject to all applicable General Laws, the authority of the board of fire engineers and the fire chief and any rules and regulations adopted by the board or the fire chief for operation of the department. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, any elected or appointed official or employee of the town of Newbury shall also be eligible to serve as a member of the board of fire engineers, as a firefighter, or both. The board of fire engineers shall: have full and absolute authority in the administration of the department; make all rules and regulations for its operation; report to the board of selectmen from time to time as the board of selectmen may require; and annually report the condition of the fire department to the town along with the board of fire engineers’ and the fire chief’s recommendations thereto. The board of fire engineers shall determine the compensation of the permanent full-time, permanent part-time and call members of the fire department, subject to the approval of the board of selectmen, and shall, in the expenditure of money, be subject to such further limitations as the town may, from time to time, prescribe.
(b) The board of selectmen, in consultation with the board of fire engineers, may, at its sole discretion, enter into contracts with Protection Fire Co. No. 1 Byfield, Massachusetts and Protection Fire Co. No. 2 for fire protection apparel, equipment and facilities. Execution of such contracts shall not require the approval of the town meeting. Sections 38A1/2 to 38O, inclusive, of chapter 7 of the General Laws and chapters 30, 30B and 149 of the General Laws shall not apply to such contracts.
(c) No contract between the town of Newbury and Protection Fire Co. No. 1, Byfield, Massachusetts or Protection Fire Co. No. 2 shall exceed a period of 10 years; provided, however, that the board of selectmen may extend such a contract, or negotiate a new contract, for as many as 2 additional periods not to exceed 10 years each. The financial obligation of the town of Newbury under any such contract shall be subject to annual appropriation.
(d) Upon a majority vote of the entire board of selectmen and the approval of town meeting, the town may permanently sever its relationship with either firefighting company and terminate any contracts entered into pursuant to this act upon 60 days written notice of termination from the board of selectmen, at which time subsection (b) shall not apply to the firefighting company to which notice was provided in accordance with this section. Failure to enter into a contract, negotiate a new contract or extend an existing contract for the purposes authorized herein shall not be considered to constitute permanent severance of the relationship of the town with a fire company as set forth in the preceding clause.
SECTION 4. Any individual appointed as a firefighter by the board of fire engineers as of the effective date of this act shall continue in that position until the expiration of the term of appointment of such firefighter, notwithstanding any provision of this act to the contrary.SECTION 5. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
Approved, December 12, 2012.