Legal Concerns Cause Snag for Merit Commission

Posted on September 12th, 2017

The Vincennes Fire Department is still no closer to having a merit commission.

After legal questions were raised last night over the ordinance creating the commission, members of the Vincennes City Council agreed to refer the document to the budget and finance committee while they work through the issues.

City Attorney Dave Roellgen advised council members not to pass the ordinance on first reading because the document clashes with state statutes.

Roellgen added the ordinance also doesn’t address how the merit commission would pay for testing and other aspects of the hiring and promotion process.

Justin Lowe, President of the Local Firefighters Union, thought the ordinance they presented the council is manageable and that the issues raised by Roellgen can be worked out.

Council member Duane Chattin thought it would be prudent to table the ordinance until the legal issues can be addressed. He also thought it would be a disservice to Mayor Joe Yochum not to be a part of the discussion. Yochum is currently on an economic development mission to Japan and won’t be back in Vincennes until next week.

At least four council members, including Tim Salters, were reluctant to just table the ordinance and let it remain in limbo. By referring it to committee, Salter says they can at least be working on creating a budget for the merit commission and where the money will come from to pay for it.

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