2016 Mississippi Code
Title 21 - Municipalities
Chapter 31 - Civil Service
General Provisions (§§ 21-31-1 - 21-31-27)
§ 21-31-23. Removal, suspension, demotion, and discharge

MS Code § 21-31-23 (2016) What's This?

No person in the classified civil service who shall have been permanently appointed or inducted into civil service under the provisions of Sections 21-31-1 through 21-31-27, except for such persons as may be employed to fill a vacancy caused by the absence of a fireman or policeman while in service as a member of the armed forces of the United States, shall be removed, suspended, demoted or discharged, or any combination thereof, except for cause, and only upon the written accusation of the appointing power or any citizen or taxpayer, a written statement of which accusation, in general terms, shall be served upon the accused, and a duplicate filed with the commission. The chiefs of the fire and/or police department may suspend a member pending the confirmation of the suspension by the regular appointing power, which shall be within three (3) days.

In the absence of extraordinary circumstances or situations, before any such employee may be removed or discharged, he shall be given written notice of the intended termination, which notice shall state the reasons for termination and inform the employee that he has the right to respond in writing to the reasons given for termination within a reasonable time and respond orally before the official charged with the responsibility of making the termination decision. Such official may, in his discretion, provide for a pretermination hearing and examination of witnesses, and if a hearing is to be held, the notice to the employee shall also set the time and place of such hearing. A duplicate of such notice shall be filed with the commission. After the employee has responded or has failed to respond within a reasonable time, the official charged with the responsibility of making the termination decision shall determine the appropriate disciplinary action, and shall notify the employee of his decision in writing at the earliest practicable date.

Where there are extraordinary circumstances or situations which require the immediate discharge or removal of an employee, such employee may be terminated without a pretermination hearing as required by this section, but such employee shall be given written notice of the specific reasons for termination within twenty-four (24) hours after the termination, and shall be given an opportunity for a hearing similar to the pretermination hearing provided in this section within twenty (20) days after the date of termination. For the purposes of this section, extraordinary situations or circumstances include, but are not limited to, circumstances where retention of the employee would result in damage to municipal property, would be detrimental to the interest of municipal government or would result in injury to the employee, to a fellow employee or to the general public.

Any person so removed, suspended, demoted, discharged or combination thereof may, within ten (10) days from the time of such disciplinary action, file with the commission a written demand for an investigation, whereupon the commission shall conduct such investigation. The investigation shall be confined to the determination of the question of whether such disciplinary action was or was not made for political or religious reasons and was or was not made in good faith for cause. After such investigation the commission may, if in its estimation the evidence is conclusive, affirm the disciplinary action, or if it shall find that the disciplinary action was made for political or religious reasons, or was not made in good faith for cause, shall order the immediate reinstatement or reemployment of such person in the office, place, position, or employment from which such person was removed, suspended, demoted, discharged or combination thereof, which reinstatement shall, if the commission so provides in its discretion, be retroactive, and entitle such person to pay or compensation from the time of such disciplinary action. The commission upon such investigation may, in lieu of affirming the disciplinary action, modify the order of removal, suspension, demotion, discharge or combination thereof by directing a suspension, without pay, for a given period and subsequent restoration of duty, or by directing a demotion in classification, grade or pay, or by any combination thereof. The findings of the commission shall be certified in writing to the appointing power, and shall be forthwith enforced by such officer.

All investigations made by the commission pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be by public hearing, after reasonable written notice to the accused of the time and place of such hearing, at which hearing the accused shall be afforded an opportunity of appearing in person and by counsel, and presenting his defense. The findings of the commission shall be conclusive and binding unless either the accused or the municipality shall, within thirty (30) days from the date of the entry of such judgment or order on the minutes of the commission and notification to the accused and the municipality, appeal to the circuit court of the county within which the municipality is located. Any appeal of the judgment or order of the commission shall not act as a supersedeas of such judgment or order, but the judgment or order shall remain in effect pending a final determination of the matter on appeal. Such appeal shall be taken by serving the commission and the appellee, within thirty (30) days after the entry of such judgment or order, a written notice of appeal, stating the grounds thereof, and demanding that a certified transcript of the record and of all papers on file in the office of the commission affecting or relating to such judgment or order, be filed by the commission with such court. The commission shall, within thirty (30) days after the filing of such notice, make, certify and file such transcript with such court. The said circuit court shall thereupon proceed to hear and determine such appeal. However, such hearing shall be confined to the determination of whether the judgment or order of removal, discharge, demotion, suspension or combination thereof made by the commission, was or was not made in good faith for cause, and no appeal to such court shall be taken except upon such ground or grounds.

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