Sunday, April 1, 2012
Appeals court reverses and rebukes Commission
The Civil Service Commission engaged in "far-fetched fact finding" when it ignored the recommendation of a hearing officer and granted the appeal of a police officer candidate who had been bypassed for a lack of candor, according to a recent decision of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. In Town of Randolph v. Civil Service Commission, the Appeals Court found that the Commission overstepped its bounds when it ruled that Randolph had improperly bypassed Darren Woolf. Randolph bypassed Woolf for original appointment to the position of police officer, despite his being a decorated war veteran, for allegedly being less than forthcoming about a violation of an abuse prevention order in 1990. A magistrate originally found that the town had reasonable justification for the bypass, but the Commission, over the dissent of Chairman Christopher Bowman, upheld the appeal. By doing so, and engaging in "highly speculative conjecture" about what occurred in 1990, the Commission improperly substituted its judgment for that of the town, according to the Appeals Court decision.