Does the Civil Service Commission and City Attorney’s Office consider the testing results to select a chief in 2018 an active “employment list?”
If so, Mayor Joe Ganim, per the City Charter, could name a new chief from the employment list and forego another national search saving time and money and providing much needed stability within the fractured department following AJ Perez’s resignation as chief after federal officials charged him with allegedly rigging his placement on that list.
Former Personnel Director David Dunn, who also resigned his position engulfed in the federal probe, had considered the test ranking an employment list back in 2018 and thus subject to City Charter regulations. The list is due to expire in October.
Luiz Casanova, the assistant chief in New Haven, finished at the top, followed dubiously by Perez and then Captain Roderick Porter, the highest ranking African American in the department. With Perez now resigned and out of the picture it bumps former Bridgeport Assistant Chief James Nardozzi to number three on the list. He had placed fourth.
Ganim, on the day Perez resigned, named Assistant Chief Rebeca Garcia acting chief.
A lot of this depends how Ganim wants this to play out. Does he keep Garcia in place temporarily while another national search is done or pick someone among the new top three? Casanova is now chief among the Connecticut Capitol Police Department and would presumably want to stay put there.
Porter, who has a number of community supporters urging his ascension to chief, would be Ganim’s logical choice given the swirl of controversy choking the department, if the mayor goes that route.
Of course lawyers being lawyers if Ganim wants to keep Garcia in place, the City Attorney’s Office could rationalize it’s not an “employment list.” Such a move could lead to lawsuits.
City lawyers are noodling this one over in concert with the Civil Service Commission.
(Director of Labor Relations Eric Amado on Tuesday was appointed by the Civil Service Commission acting personnel director. He will now oversee both labor and personnel departments, according to an announcement by the city.)
Relevant language from the City Charter:
Whenever a vacancy arises in the position of chief of police, the personnel director shall, upon request, certify to the mayor the names of the three (3) candidates standing highest upon the employment list for such position. If no such list exists, the personnel director shall, within 150 days of the request, hold a test for such position and shall, upon the establishment of an employment list, certify to the mayor the names of the three persons standing highest thereon.
Within sixty (60) days of receipt of the certification required by subSection (a)(3) of this section, the mayor shall appoint one (1) of the persons so certified as the Chief of police and shall notify the Civil Service Commission and the Board of Police Commissioners of such appointment. The mayor may designate the time when such appointment shall take effect, provided it shall not be more than ninety (90) days from the date of his receipt of the personnel director’s certification. Unless otherwise stated such appointment shall be effective immediately. In the event that the mayor fails to appoint a chief of police within sixty days of receipt of said certification, the board of police commissioners shall, forthwith, make such appointment.