“I am tired of the way this is going right now. Speak your piece or shut up.”
Joel Daniels, Safety Service Director
MOUNT VERNON — Personnel files will be provided if requested to an assessment panel that is part of the test for the office of Mount Vernon Chief of Police.
At a meeting of the Mount Vernon Civil Service Commission Thursday, Safety Service Joel Daniels said the personnel files of applicants for the chief position will be provided to the panel if requested. Daniels made the statement after MVPD Sgt. Kit Morgan asked to speak at the CSC hearing, and said he was concerned that providing personnel files would sway the panel.
Morgan has applied to take the chief’s test. The other applicants are Capt. Scott McKnight and sergeants Andrew Burns, Beth Marti and Travis Tharp.
Attorney Korey Kidwell has made a public records request for the personnel files of the applicants. Daniels said the request is being processed by City Law Director Rob Broeren.
In the public records request, Kidwell said he is representing Capt. Scott McKnight, who is also taking the chief’s test.
Kidwell spoke on the matter at the meeting. Attempts to contact Kidwell for additional comment Thursday were unsuccessful.
Morgan suggested the the public records request will result in the personnel files being given to the assessment panel. He said he is concerned because the way discipline is handled for a sergeant is different, or may appear to be different, than that for a captain. McKnight spoke after Morgan and said he was insulted by Morgan’s statement, and said discipline for him is the same as any other officer.
Emotions ran high at the meeting. After Morgan and McKnight spoke, Daniels stood up and asked if anyone else had any more questions or concerns.
“I am tired of the way this is going right now,” Daniels said. “Speak your piece or shut up.”
No public record requests has been made by the assessment panel to see the personnel files to the CSC, MVPD, safety services or law director’s office, the heads of those departments said Thursday.
The assessment panel is made up of three retired police chiefs, who present scenarios to the candidates. How the candidates answer to those scenarios determines their score.
Roger Monroe, who is the current chief, said that personnel files are not considered in the test. The only thing that would have weight in the test process would be if something was there that would have disqualified an applicant from taking the test to begin with. All five applicants are qualified, Monroe said.
Monroe went through the assessment panel before becoming chief. He said the score is based solely on the “merit” of the answers given by the applicant.
The meeting Thursday of the CSC was called to vote on a procedural matter regarding the chief’s test. The commission voted to change the weight of the test score to 40 percent for a written exam, and 60 percent for the exam before the assessment panel. Previously, the score was 50/50.
The board’s decision has reset the clock on the test. Those who have already applied will have to apply again, CSC Merit Administrator Tony De Iuliis said.
The test schedule, which was set for Nov. 15 for the written test and Dec. 7 for the assessment panel, will probably change, De Iuliis said.
The commission is required to give applicants up to 60 days to study. The applicants have already had since Sept. 13 to study under the former test schedule.
The highest test score — and nothing else — will determine who is the new chief, Daniels said.
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