PDT Staff Writer
Portsmouth Civil Service Commission Interim Director Jo Ann Aeh says she will wait until the commission looks at all information and makes a final decision as to eligibility requirements before scheduling a police chief’s exam. The test for captain has been scheduled for Aug. 11, and the next step would be to give the chief’s exam, but Aeh says there is some question as to the amount of time someone must be a captain before being eligible for the chief’s test.
“The Civil Service rules say that you if you have been promoted, you have to be in that position a year before you can take another promotional exam,” Aeh said. “(Acting Chief) Rob Ware tells me that previously they waived that, and that they count your time back to when the vacancy occurred and so many days. That would mean that whoever succeeds on this captain’s test would be eligible then.”
Aeh has asked Ware to come up with information on the practice of waiving the rule for Monday’s Civil Service meeting.
“The question is, who determines? Is it the court that ordered us to do the test? Is it the state Civil Service?,” Aeh said. “They (Commission) can go ahead and prepare the exam, but I’m not going to post any police exam until I have something in writing that says, ‘whoever is the new captain is eligible to take the test.’”
Aeh said she will not put out study materials until the issue is clarified and a date has been set to allow equal access to study materials for all candidates.
In April, a ruling by Scioto County Common Pleas Court Judge William T. Marshall ordered the City of Portsmouth to give its Civil Service Police Captain’s exam immediately, filling a vacancy created by the resignation of Capt. David Thoroughman a year ago. However, at that time, three members of the commission had resigned, and Portsmouth Mayor David Malone had to wait until a new Commission was named. The lone remaining member of the Commission, Dick Grimm, was joined by Portsmouth attorney John Stevenson and Dr. Wayne Wheeler, who is also an attorney. They selected Aeh, a former Portsmouth City Clerk, to fill the job of director.
The mandamus action was filed in Marshall’s court by Michael Queen, president of FOP Lodge No. 33, on behalf of that lodge and Lt. Lynn Brewer against the City of Portsmouth and Mayor David Malone and the City of Portsmouth, after a year passed with no exam.
The ruling by Marshall took the issue a step further. In addition to ordering a captain’s exam, his ruling read: “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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.