Friday, July 22, 2016

“Voluntary” Withdrawals from Boston Police Department

The Civil Service Commission took the Boston Police Department to task for a number of unfair and deceptive hiring practices. Read the entire decision here. Most importantly, the Commission commanded the BPD to notify candidates that they have a right to appeal -- and get independent review of any potential bypass reasons -- if the candidate proceeds and declines to “voluntarily” withdraw from the hiring process. BPD has long encouraged candidates to withdraw, providing them “ominous -- and misleading -- information” about what might happen if a candidate declines to do so. Three points made by the Commission bear repeating here:

(1) If you are ultimately bypassed, you have a right to appeal to the Civil Service Commission. On appeal, the Appointing Authority (here the BPD) has the burden to show that the reasons for the bypass are sound and sufficient. As yesterday’s orders show, the Commission is well aware that BPD violates civil service law, and is well equipped to look critically and closely at assertions made by the BPD.

(2) If you withdraw from consideration, you do not have a right to appeal. This -- of course -- is why BPD wants the candidates that it won’t be selecting to withdraw. If the BPD can convince candidates to withdraw, the Department will not have to explain itself to anyone.

(3) A bypass only affects one hiring process. The Commission aptly pointed out that the BPD has been telling candidates that a bypass could lead to a candidate’s removal from an eligible list. This is not true. Removal from an eligible list requires a separate administrative procedure (called a PAR.09 removal) and requires the appointing authority seeking removal to meet an even higher standard than applies to a bypass.

We are all too familiar with the BPD’s “voluntary” withdrawal process. Too often we encounter candidates when it is already too late -- after he or she has already withdrawn. If you are asked to withdraw your candidacy -- from BPD, or any Department -- ask for time to consider your options and contact our office. You have rights, and we may be able to help you protect them.