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Without Court Order, Wiretap Evidence Inadmissible In Civil Service Hearing

The California Court of Appeals has ruled that without a court order, wiretap evidence is inadmissible in a civil service disciplinary hearing. The case began in 2009, when the high intensity drug trafficking area task force came to believe that Los Angeles Sheriff ’s Department Detective Carlos Arellano was associating with known narcotics felons, using his law enforcement status to obtain inside information from the Department to provide to…

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Civil Service Can Consider Officer’s Behavior During Appeal Hearing

John Ingersoll was a police officer for Mattawa, Washington. In May 2012, his wife and children left their house and were transported to a domestic violence safe house. The City placed Ingersoll on administrative leave. After a three-month investigation, the City sent Ingersoll a pre-disciplinary letter accusing him of domestic violence as well as harassment and intimidation of various Mattawa citizens and several other allegations. At the ensuing hearing,…

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‘Last Chance’ Agreements Under Civil Service Rules

In some environments, there are some different disciplinary rules that apply to “last chance” agreements. Typically, last chance agreements are used where an employee has engaged in serious misconduct, is willing to take affirmative steps to remedy the underlying source of the misconduct, and will agree to a sanction less than termination. A feature of such agreements is that in exchange for the employer’s agreement not to terminate the…

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Q & A

From Minnesota Question: Our chief is proposing to the Civil Service board to change the promotion process for sergeant. Currently it’s a test, interview and in-basket assessment. He wants to change it to just 100% interview. He has already done this for lieutenant, commander and also to become a patrol officer. Is there any research on the processes being strictly interview and any pros/cons to it? Answer: We’re not…

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Kansas Court Limits Ability To Appeal Discipline To Civil Service Boards

When public safety officers want to challenge discipline, their ability to successfully do so is tied in part to the system of appeal. In parts of the country, particularly including many states in the South and Southwest, public safety officers are considered to be “at-will” employees. An at-will employee can be fired or otherwise disciplined for any reason or no reason at all, provided the employer’s actions do not…

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Unsuccessful Applicant Can Review Civil Service Exam

Claudio Tundo took the Entry Level Law Enforcement Examination administered by the New Jersey Civil Service Commission. The exam is meant to determine suitable candidates for the Commission’s eligibility list for law enforcement positions in New Jersey. After taking the exam, all passing candidates are placed in an eligible pool, and their names provided to an appointing authority of a specific jurisdiction or agency for use in its hiring…

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Revocation Of Police Certification Does Not Conflict With Civil Service Law

Timothy Hannigan was a police officer employed by the Borough of Darby, Pennsylvania. Hannigan cheated on a mandatory in-service training examination given by the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission. After an investigation in which Hannigan admitted what he had done, the Commission revoked Hannigan’s police officer certification. Hannigan lodged an appeal with Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court, arguing both that the Commission lacked the authority to enact a rule…

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Civil Service Board Has Limited Authority To Correct Sergeant Pay Variations

As put by the Tennessee Court of Appeals, “there is little rhyme or reason to the pay scale of the individuals holding the rank of sergeant in the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. Don Gorman, director of administration for the Sheriff, admitted that there ‘absolutely’ is a pay disparity among the class of sergeants. All corporals in the Sheriff’s Office make the same amount. The same is true of those…

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Non-Union Battalion Chiefs Entitled To Union Benefit

Battalion chiefs assigned to Honolulu Fire Department are excluded from civil service protection, and are not part of the rand-and-file bargaining unit. On June 25, 2003, the Department implemented a “Rank for Rank Recall Program,” which entitled Department firefighters to work overtime to fill vacancies left by similarly ranked counterparts who had taken vacation leave. The Rank for Rank Program modified the rank-and-file collective bargaining agreement. On July 10,…

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Lieutenant Loses Appeal Of Termination Because Inadequate Record Made Of Civil Service Proceedings

Roger L. Skinner was a lieutenant with the Medina, Washington Police Department. Following an internal investigation in February 2006, the City discharged Skinner. Skinner appealed his termination to the Medina Civil Service Commission. The hearing was electronically recorded. The Commission affirmed the Department’s decision to terminate Skinner, finding that the City had complied with due process and discharged Skinner in good faith for cause. Skinner challenged the Commission’s decision…

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Civil Service Laws Do Not Prohibit Demotions For Lack Of Funds

Richard Deem held the position of police captain in the classified service of the City of Fairview Park, Ohio, from 1997 until the City abolished the position as a cost-cutting measure on April 17, 2006. At the time, the City’s projected revenues were approximately $1.2 million below its projected expenses. In an effort to balance the City’s budget, Mayor Eileen Patton asked each department to cut its budget by…

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Employer Must Explain Why It Uses Rule Of Three

The New Jersey Civil Service Act allows an employer to use a Rule of Three to bypass a candidate who ranked higher on a competitive examination. When an employer does so, it must report to the State’s Department of Personnel (DOP) why it did so. The purpose for the report is to assure that the appointing power was not exercised arbitrarily and to provide a basis for review. In…

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Fire Captain Files Appeal In Wrong Place, Loses Challenge To Suspension

On March 12, 2007, James Berlo, a captain in the Boston Fire Department, tested positive for a narcotic when administered a random drug test by the Department. The Department’s Hearing Board imposed a one-month unpaid suspension. The Board’s decision informed Berlo of his right to appeal to the Boston Civil Service Commission. Bypassing the Commission, Berlo challenged his suspension in court. When his lawsuit was dismissed, he appealed to…

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The Battle Of The Experts In A Shooting Case

David Garcia has been a Long Beach, California police officer since 2000. On the night of July 16, 2004, Garcia became involved with an apparently mentally disturbed individual. The encounter eventually resulted in Garcia shooting and killing the suspect. The Department convened an Officer Involved Shooting Board. By a 4-1 margin, the Board concluded that the shooting was intentional and out of policy. When the Department terminated Garcia, he…

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