Code of the District of Columbia

§ 5–402. Appointments and promotions covered by civil service; selection of Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chiefs; original appointment and transfer of privates; vacancies.

(a) The Mayor of the District of Columbia shall appoint, assign to such duty or duties as he may prescribe, promote, reduce, fine, suspend, with or without pay, and remove all officers and members of the Fire Department of the District of Columbia, according to such rules and regulations as the Council of the District of Columbia, in its exclusive jurisdiction and judgment (except as herein otherwise provided), may from time to time make, alter, or amend; provided, that the rules and regulations of the Fire Department heretofore promulgated are hereby ratified (except as herein otherwise provided) and shall remain in force until changed by said Council; provided further, that all officers, members, and civilian employees of such Department, except the Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chiefs, shall be appointed and promoted in accordance with the provisions of §§ 1101 to 1103, 1105, 1301 to 1303, 1307, 1308, 2102, 2951, 3302 to 3306, 3318, 3319, 3321, 3361, 7202, 7321, 7322, and 7352 of Title 5, United States Code, and the rules and regulations made in pursuance thereof, in the same manner as members of the classified civil service of the United States, except as herein otherwise provided; provided further, that the Deputy Fire Chiefs shall be selected from among the battalion fire chiefs, the Fire Marshal, and the superintendent of machinery; provided further, that all original appointments of privates shall be made to class 1, privates who have served 1 year in class 1 shall, if found efficient, be transferred to class 2, and privates who have served 2 years in class 2 shall, if found efficient, be transferred to class 3. Such transfers shall not be subject to the provisions of said sections of Title 5, United States Code, and the rules and regulations made in pursuance thereof. Whenever vacancies occur in class 2 or 3 which cannot be filled by such transfers, the Mayor may appoint additional privates in class 1 equal in number to the positions vacant in class 2 or 3; and any moneys appropriated for the payment of the salaries for such vacant positions shall be available to pay to such additional privates of class 1 the salaries of their grade.

(a-1)(1) The Mayor shall appoint the Fire Chief, with the advice and consent of the Council, pursuant to § 1-523.01(a).

(2) The Fire Chief may be selected for appointment from among the ranks of officers and members of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, or from outside the department.

(3) A person selected for appointment as Fire Chief from outside the department shall be paid from the DX Schedule for subordinate agency head positions pursuant to § 1-610.52 and, unless otherwise provided by law, shall be eligible to receive retirement and other benefits as prescribed in subchapter X-A of Chapter 6 of Title 1 [§ 1-610.51 et seq.].

(4) A person selected for appointment as Fire Chief from among the ranks of officers and members of the department shall be paid from the DX Schedule for subordinate agency head positions pursuant to § 1-610.52 and, unless otherwise provided by law, shall be subject to the retirement provisions for officers and members of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

(b)(1) [For applicability of (b), see Editor’s notes.] The Fire Chief shall recommend to the Director of Personnel criteria for Career Service promotions and Excepted Service appointments to Battalion Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief that address the areas of education, experience, physical fitness, and psychological fitness. The recommended criteria shall be the same for Career Service promotions and Excepted Service appointments to these positions. When establishing the criteria, the Fire Chief shall review national standards, such as the National Fire Protection Association’s Standard on Fire Officer Professional Qualifications.

(2) All candidates for the position of Battalion Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief shall be of good standing with no disciplinary action pending or administered resulting in more than a 14-day suspension or termination within the past 3 years.


(June 20, 1906, 34 Stat. 314, ch. 3443, § 2; Jan. 24, 1920, 41 Stat. 396, ch. 54; Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-194, § 103, 51 DCR 9406; Apr. 15, 2008, D.C. Law 17-147, § 2(b), 55 DCR 2558; May 13, 2008, D.C. Law 17-154, § 5, 55 DCR 3678.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-302.

1973 Ed., § 4-402.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-632.03, § 7-2341.03, § 7-2341.07, and § 7-2341.23.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-194 designated the existing text as subsection (a); and added subsec. (b).

D.C. Law 17-147, in subsec. (a), deleted “the Fire Chief of the Fire Department shall be selected from among the Deputy Fire Chiefs, the battalion fire chiefs, the Fire Marshal and the superintendent of machinery;” following “provided further, that.

D.C. Law 17-154 added subsec. (a-1).

Cross References

Merit system, application to police officers and firefighters, see § 1-632.03.

Military service, exemption, see § 49-402.

Protection of life, health, or property, regulations, see § 1-303.03.

References in Text

Former 5 U.S.C. § 3306, referred to in the second proviso of the first sentence, was repealed February 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 25, Pub. L. 95-228, § 1. 5 U.S.C. § 3319 was repealed October 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1149, Pub. L. 95-454, § 307. For provisions similar to these repealed sections, see 5 U.S.C.§ 7201 et seq., generally. Former 5 U.S.C. § 7152 was transferred October 13, 1978, by 92 Stat. 1216, Pub. L. 95-454 to 5 U.S.C. § 7202. Appropriate changes have been made in the text of this section.

Editor's Notes

Office of Chief Engineer abolished: The Office of Chief Engineer of the Fire Department was abolished and all functions of that office transferred to and vested in the Fire Chief. The Deputy Chief Engineer of the Fire Department was designated “Deputy Fire Chief,” and the Battalion Chief Engineer was designated “Battalion Fire Chief” by Reorganization Order No. 6, dated September 16, 1952, issued pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952. Reorganization Order No. 38, dated June 18, 1953, established a Fire Department headed by the Fire Chief. The Fire Chief was given full authority over the Department to be exercised in accordance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations. The Order set up the organization of the Department, and provided that the previously existing Fire Department was abolished and its functions transferred to the new Department. This Order was issued pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952. Reorganization Order No. 38 was amended by Mayor’s Order 81-233a, dated November 9, 1981. That Order set forth the organization of the Fire Department.

Application of Titles I and VI of D.C. Law 15-194: Section 1301 of D.C. Law 15-194 provided: “Titles I and VI of this act shall apply to pre-1980 employees of the Metropolitan Police Department and the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department upon their enactment by Congress.”

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 402(107) of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.