The city's home rule petition to remove both the Peabody police and fire chiefs jobs from Civil Service jurisdiction was given its final blessing by the state House of Representatives on Monday, reports state Rep. Ted Speliotis.
Speliotis said the bill, which he and fellow Rep. Leah Cole had co-sponsored, came out of committee and passed on the House floor after its third and final reading. The bill now moves to the Senate for a similar procedure before seeking the signature of Gov. Deval Patrick to make it official.
Speliotis said there were no concerns voiced about the request, which first originated with Mayor Ted Bettencourt this spring, and he maintained the measure should not be viewed as an "attack" on Civil Service.
He said he and colleagues recognize the need to give municipal leaders more latitude in this area and the ability to hire their own team to set policy.
While a couple communities have switched back and forth in recent years, the trend across Massachusetts is steadily moving away from maintaining Civil Service protections for police and fire chiefs and treating them instead like any other department head.
Just on the North Shore, Beverly, Marblehead, Gloucester and Newburyport have all removed chiefs' jobs from Civil Service in the past two or three years. There have been discussions in Danvers as well, but no formal proposal yet.
Bettencourt also noted this spring that the majority of other mayors, town managers and administrators, and even some retired chiefs, he conferred with strongly favored moving away from Civil Service.