Peralta — Volunteer firefighters in Peralta could receive up to $10,816 per year thanks to one of two resolutions approved by the town council in July.

The first resolution is the Peralta Fire Department’s nominal fee policy and the second is the standard operating procedures for disciplinary actions for its volunteers.

This nominal fee policy for the Peralta Fire Department replaces a 2018 resolution. The changes to the resolution aim to improve training, qualifications, participation, recruitment and retention.

“A major change is that any volunteers who joins can qualify for stipends regardless of their training. They will get the minimum amount just for showing up for the training,” said Peralta Fire Chief Jeremy Fiedler during the July Peralta Town Council meeting.

Volunteer firefighters and EMS responders do not receive an hourly rate of pay; instead, they get paid on a point system, which is scored by incentive and retention values.

The retention values consist of the level of training, years of experience, years of service and meeting the requirement of the minimum training.


The incentive values include participation in training, department events and responding to fire and EMS alarms.

The funds come from the fire excise gross receipts tax and will be paid out every six months. Funds will roll over if the maximum allotment is not reached.

There is a possibility the fire department may receive a stipend grant from the state that would be added to the maximum amount paid to volunteers.

“The potential is there, basically at some point, if we get that money, depending on our membership numbers, every volunteer can automatically be maxing out if they meet the minimum requirements and showing up to calls,” said Fiedler.

According to the New Mexico Department of Labor, any fee paid to a volunteer firefighter is a nominal fee if it does not exceed 20 percent of what a full-time firefighter would be paid by that public agency.

Other changes made to the nominal fee policy include:

  • Increasing the N.M. Department of Labor cap for volunteers to $10,816 per year.
  • An automatic payment for the assistant chief of the allowed amount of $10,816 per year.
  • How the chief disseminates the funds and calculates everything out on a spreadsheet transparently.

The other resolution that was approved was the fire department’s standard operating procedures for disciplining and removing department members.

The approved disciplinary process follows county guidelines but incorporates N.M. Department of Labor recommendations for actions and procedures.

The department will correct minor infractions of performance, conduct or behavior through progressive discipline. Immediate terminations may be at the fire chief’s discretion.

Members who are arrested will be suspended until the fire administration reviews the case. The member must notify the district chief within 48 hours, or they will be terminated. Any felony or arson convictions are immediate termination.

The disciplinary process:

  1. Oral warnings or reprimands: to correct minor infractions.
  2. Written reprimand: if the oral warning did not work to correct the initial offense.
  • Step one: The fire chief starts an investigation and appoints an administrative officer to assist in the investigation.
  • Step two: The officer and chief will meet with the member and the offender will have an opportunity to respond verbally or in writing.
  • Step three: If the allegations are verified, the officer will review the information with the chief and determine the appropriate action to be taken.
  • Step four: The chief and officer will meet with the offender and issue a written reprimand.
  1. Formal grievance and appeal process: Only members who have completed the initial probationary period.
  2. Request for hearing
  3. Scheduled hearing
  4. Hearing
  5. Decision

Examples of infractions that will require corrective actions include but are not limited to:

  • Insubordination
  • Failure to perform his/her duty or dereliction of duty
  • Negligence
  • Misuse or mismanagement of department funds
  • Sexual misconduct or harassment while on duty at county functions in uniform or representing the county, district or department.
  • Misuse or abuse of equipment, or apparatus.
  • Interference with the duties of a law enforcement officer.
  • The misrepresentation of qualifications, level of training, licensure or experience.
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Jesse Jones lives in Albuquerque with his wife and son. Jesse graduated from of the University of New Mexico twice. This spring, he graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism and, in 2006, he received a bachelor’s degree in university studies with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a current fellow of the New Mexico Local News Fund.