Police Department Has Right To Void Promotional List

When a promotional list for the position of sergeant in the City of Portsmouth, New Hampshire Police Department was reduced to three candidates, the Department voided the promotional list and began a new testing process. The Portsmouth Police Patrolman’s Union challenged the Department’s decision in arbitration, arguing that the voiding of a promotional list when there were more than two candidates on the list breached a longstanding past practice.

An arbitrator rejected the grievance. The Arbitrator concluded that the contract specifically provided that the employer could void a promotional list without regard to how many candidates were on the list. The Arbitrator pointed to the Department’s “Policy For Promotions,” which had been in place since at least 1987, and which allowed the employer the latitude to void the promotional list. The Arbitrator rejected as non-credible the Union’s argument that it had been unaware of the policy. In addition, the Arbitrator rejected the Union’s argument that the decision to void the list was based on two of the candidates’ union activities or race.

City of Portsmouth Police Commission, LAIG 6663 (McSpiritt, 2008).

This article appears in the February 2009 issue