Thursday, December 6, 2012

Commission: Only HRD can remove names from eligility lists

In two decisions handed down last week, the Civil Service Commission clarified the procedure for removing a candidate's name from an eligibility list for a civil service position. In Radochia v. City of Somerville, the candidate appealed a bypass of his selection for a firefighter position as well as the removal of his name from all future certifications for the position. The Commission upheld the bypass decision, but ruled that the City overstepped its authority in deciding unilaterally to remove the candidate's name from all future certifications. The Commission ruled that if a municipality wants to remove a candidate permanently from consideration on all future certifications from an existing eligibility list, it must request and receive approval from the state's Human Resources Division, which waiss authorize to remove candidate's names under Personnel Administrative Rule 9 ("PAR.09). Equally important, the Commission clarified that the standard to justify a removal from an eligibility list is far more stringent than the reasonable justification standard for a bypass. The Commission explained:

"Thus, the PAR.09 removal process appears to be meant to apply only in exceptional circumstances -- e.g., felony convictions which are statutory disqualifiers for police officer candidates -- and is not intended to serve as a routine substitute for the established statutory process for bypassing a candidate in the next hiring cycle for the same legitimate, but judgmental, reasons established in the prior cycle, after due inquiry to confirm that there was no material changed in the relevant circumstances." 

The Commission also issued a decision, Carroll v. Town of Stoneham, in which it dismissed a candidate's bypass appeal as moot but also reaffirmed that it was HRD's responsibility, not the town's, to review and approve any request for a permanent removal from the eligibility list.