Police promotions to resume Chief's move comes after judge's opinion

June 06, 1996|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

County police promotions, delayed for months by a legal challenge, will resume later this month, Chief Robert A. Beck announced yesterday.

His announcement comes days after a strongly worded opinion from Circuit Judge Pamela L. North reinstated the promotions list.

In an internal Police Department memo released yesterday, Beck said that he will hold a ceremony at 9 a.m. June 21 at the Columbian Center in Severna Park to promote six officers who have been in acting sergeant positions since January.

Next month, the chief will begin interviewing officers to fill the 11 sergeant vacancies that will remain after the ceremony, police spokesman Ronald Hines said.

North released her opinion Friday denouncing the county personnel board's decision to invalidate the promotions list for sergeant.

The list was deemed unusable in October when the personnel board ruled the testing process was "tainted" because Lt. Ronald Bateman charged officers a fee for a preparatory course.

The promotions list for sergeants to lieutenants remained effective under the Personnel Board decision.

North rejected the claims of a "tainted" testing process and criticized the board's lack of parity in upholding the sergeant-to-lieutenant test results.

"This court cannot find any relevant evidence a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the Personnel Board's conclusion there is no substantial evidence," North wrote.

"There was no basis upon which the Personnel Board could have treated the sergeant's exam and the lieutenants exam differently," the judge wrote.

County lawyer Gail Thurman Watson said she and the Police Department were happy with the judge's decision.

"I think [North] got right to the heart of the issue of whether the personnel board had substantial evidence to support their decision and whether they correctly interpreted the law," she said. "She said no on both counts.

"They've had acting sergeants, but it's not the same to the officers. This gives us some permanence," she said.

Watson said that the three officers who challenged the list have 30 days to appeal North's decision.

An appeal would not automatically stop the chief from promoting officers, however.

The challengers would need a court-ordered injunction to stop the scheduled ceremony, Watson said.

Aaron Nis, the attorney representing the three officers, said he is disappointed by the decision, but he and his clients have not yet discussed filing an appeal.

Pub Date: 6/06/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.