By FRANK LEWIS
PDT Staff Writer
The candidates for the captain position in the Portsmouth Police Department are one step closer to taking the long-awaited civil service exam.
After a year’s delay in which Portsmouth City Council did not fund the test, now, a new Civil Service Commission will hold an organizational meeting Friday, go over resumes, hire an executive director, then set up that exam.
At Monday’s Council meeting, President of Council John Haas announced that Dr. Wayne Wheeler and Attorney John Stevenson will join the lone remaining member of the original commission, Richard Grimm.
A recent ruling by Scioto County Common Pleas Court Judge William T. Marshall says the City of Portsmouth has to give its Civil Service Police Captain’s exam immediately, filling a vacancy created by the resignation of Capt. David Thoroughman a year ago.
Three members of the city’s Civil Service Commission recently resigned: Executive Director David Huddleston, Luanne Valentine and Mike Gampp, leaving only Grimm on the Commission.
“We definitely have to deal with that (captain’s test),” Grimm said. “That has been delayed far too long. No date has been set for a meeting, but as quickly as I get a hold of those two gentlemen we’ll set a date.”
The mandamus action was filed in Marshall’s court by Michael Queen, president of FOP Lodge #33, on behalf of that lodge and Lt. Lynn Brewer against the City of Portsmouth and Mayor David Malone.
A year ago, the Civil Service Commission approved the exam. However, Portsmouth City Council said the city could not afford the exams — which cost about $1,500 for each participant. The exams were put on hold. Since then, Police Chief Charles Horner retired and the lone remaining captain, Robert Ware, was named interim chief. That designation runs out 120 days from the appointment, which should be about the middle of June. That would result in another vacancy — that of police chief.
“We have already asked the Commission, even before those resigned,” Malone said. “I already asked that both of those tests (captain and chief) be prepared to be given. It is just a matter of the Commission having full members and executing the purchasing of the test and the giving of the test.”
Marshall’s ruling requires the city to announce and hold a civil service examination for police captain and then appoint the person with the highest rating within 30 days after certification.
“In accordance with the City Charter as it now reads, the respondent City of Portsmouth is now ordered to employ one more employee to become a part of the police force. There being no just reason for delay, this is a final appealable order. Court costs assessed to respondents,” Marshall wrote in his ruling.
Those eligible to take the captain’s test include lieutenants Lynn Brewer, Debbie Brewer, Jerry Leach and Bruce Barney.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.