5 promotions in city police are invalidated

May 19, 1994

An Anne Arundel Circuit judge has invalidated the promotions to corporal given last November to five minority officers in the Annapolis Police Department.

Judge Robert H. Heller Jr. signed an 11-page ruling late Tuesday, saying former police Chief Harold Robbins overstepped his authority.

"There is no dispute that the five officers promoted were chosen from a qualified list of candidates. The problem is that Chief Robbins promoted these officers prior to getting approval from the City Council," Judge Heller wrote.

Chief Robbins, who resigned last month, created the five positions in November and filled them with minority officers from a list of candidates who had passed a corporal's exam. But 13 white officers who were highly ranked on an expired corporal eligibility list sued the city, the Police Department and other Annapolis officials, arguing that Chief Robbins failed to get the required approval from the City Council.

The council has since allowed the corporals to keep their new rank, but withheld any pay raises pending the outcome of the dispute.

City officials said they are discussing whether to appeal.

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