– News about Quincy commentary from Quincy Quarry News
Free the Quincy Police Department Three!
The Rule of Law Prevails Over Local Practices – A Quincy Quarry Special Report on why Quincy Police Officer job applicant Justine Ruggiero won his Civil Service grievance.
The State Civil Service Commission recently ruled that the City of Quincy improperly passed over Justin Ruggiero – a veteran of the Marine Corps and a college graduate in Criminal Justice – and instead hired as Quincy Police Department officers individuals who were ranked lower on the Civil Service candidates list.
This is also not the first time the City of Quincy during the tenure of Mayor Thomas Koch was found to have acted improperly by the Civil Service Commission in a bypass matter involving the Quincy Police Department.
This latest Civil Service’s recent ruling in the matter of Justin Ruggiero versus the City of Quincy (“Ruggiero”) revolved around the City of Quincy’s reliance on an unapproved as well as variously flawed psychological screening approach to justify bypassing Justin Ruggiero.
Key shortcomings cited by Civil Service follow.
Specifically noted in Ruggiero is that any psychological screening protocol imposed upon ANY (emphasis added, ed.) Civil Service job applicants MUST (again, emphasis added, ed.) be PREAPPROVED (yet again, emphasis added, ed.) by the state’s Human Resources Division.
The City of Quincy, however, had no such approved protocol in place.
To this glaring shortcoming, Civil Service directed that the City of Quincy both prepare and then submit to the state’s Human Resource Department (“HRD”) within sixty days of its ruling in favor of Justin Ruggiero a (proper, ed.) psychological evaluation plan to for HRD’s review and (perhaps, ed.) its approval.
The myriad of problems with the City of Quincy’s use of an unapproved as well as variously flawed psychological review process further includes that neither (emphasis added, ed.) of the parties retained by the City of Quincy to do the screenings had been approved for such work nor had otherwise conducted screenings of applicants for Civil Service municipal police officer positions.
In fact, both of the evaluators used by the City of Quincy acknowledged under oath that they were not aware of the state’s clear, legal and variously otherwise valid standards for such screenings.
Additional screening process problems include that the initial screener who was also was the first to reject Justin Ruggiero did so based on his scoring higher on a modest number of intra-test questionnaire subscales rankings than others.
Civil Service, however, pointedly noted in its ruling that not only did these scores not rise to a level of unambiguous scientifically-indicated unfitness – much less to its own similarly sound standards, the screener did not even make it clear to Civil Service exactly whose scores were this screener’s points of comparison.
The initial screener further found Justin Ruggiero unfit given that he has a number of family member with substance abuse problems (typically with alcohol, ed.) as well as that certain of his relatives have also been subject to incarceration.
Justin Ruggiero, however, has no such history of either substance abuse or incarceration.
Per Civil Service regulations, applicable law, as well as other manners of proper consideration, it is abjectly unacceptable to reject someone for the sins of his family and that such was prominently noticed in Civil Service’s ruling.
At most, Ruggiero self-reported that he had overindulged a couple of dozen times or so while he was in the US Marine Corps and during his college days as well as but once in the past year during a wedding reception.
Per Corps and college standards, a near teetotaler.
Ironically, it must be noted that the City of Quincy’s Human Resource Director was herself involved in relatively recent incident which could have preclude her from consideration for hiring for a police job.
This same incident would have also subjected to her to potential dismissal if she were a probationary status rookie police officer – yet relatively soon after her incident, she was promoted to Human Resource Director for the City of Quincy. She was further arguably lacking in germane, much less sufficient, experience to be the Human Resource Director for a municipality with thousands of employees variously on the payroll.
Conversely, Justin Ruggiero would appear to have lived both an exemplary as well as normal life. He has also long as well as purposefully strove to avoid the problems certain of his family have experienced, including distancing himself from various of his chronically problematic relations.
He is further well-regarded by both his co-workers and his clients in his current job – a counselor for veterans.
Additionally, he is engaged to be married to elementary school teacher as well as that both are both helping raise a nephew whose father is incarcerated.
In short, a quality person.
Per its ruling, Civil Service ordered the Ruggiero be placed at the top of the Civil Service list for the next round of hires and that – if and when he might be hired as Quincy Police officer – he be accorded Civil Service seniority ranking consistent with what he would have received if he had not been improperly bypassed for hire by the City of Quincy.
Subsequent to the Civil Service Commission’s ruling in the matter of Justin Ruggiero v City of Quincy ruling, the City of Quincy settled with Marco Defelice and who had also filed a grievance with the Civil Service Commission against the City of Quincy for reasons similar to Ruggiero.
The City of Quincy suddenly opted to settle with Marco Defelice per essentially the very same terms as were ordered by Civil Service to the benefit of Ruggiero while at the same time inexplicably claiming it did not (technically, ed.) lose.
Specifically, Chris Walker, Mayor Thomas Koch’s spokesperson, was reported as saying that “the city’s settlement with Defelice, which put him atop the hiring list, wasn’t in response to the commission’s ruling on the Ruggiero appeal. However, (Walker) said the settlement was related to the process in which Defelice was denied appointment to the police department.”
Walker was further cited as saying that “no candidate was hired as a result of another candidate being bypassed. The hiring of these three (who filed appeals, ed) would not have affected the hiring of anyone else.”
Walker apparently did not, however, offer comment on how then the lower on the list – as in all but at the bottom of the Civil Service list rankings of those hired – City of Quincy officials’ relatives hiring by the QPD – “Andrew Keenan, son of Chief Paul Keenan and nephew of Mayor Thomas Koch; Michael Dougan, son of Capt. John Dougan; and Erin McFarland, daughter of at-large City Councilor Michael McFarland” – were not in any way facilitated or otherwise made possible by the City’s variously flawed bypassing of applicants Justine Rugiero and Marco Defelice.
Also subsequent to Civil Service’s ruling in favor of Ruggiero, it decided for the City of Quincy in the matter of James Pineo v the City of Quincy.
Upon any reasonable lay person’s review of the ruling, James Pineo versus the City of Quincy, Pineo was a less than prime candidate and thus Civil Service found that he was thus validly not offered a position with the QPD.
At the same time, this ruling still makes for interesting reading on the City of Quincy’s hiring practices during the tenure of Mayor Thomas Koch.
For example, Civil Services notes in its ruling in Administration’s hiring practices in Point 39 on Page 10 that the testimony of both Quincy Police Department Captain Michael Miller and Helen Murphy, Quincy’s Director of Human Resources, was that Mayor Koch “ . . . ultimately decided which candidates to offer employment to.”
One of those offered a job to serve as a Quincy Police officer is Andrew Keenan, one of Mayor Koch’s nephews as well as the son of Mayor Koch’s brother-in-law Quincy Police Chief Paul “The Beav” Keenan.
Unaddressed by Civil Service, however, was whether or not this apparent failure by Mayor Koch to recuse himself from the decision to hire his nephew was kosher – or not – and as was purportedly done when the mayor’s brother-in-law then QPD Captain Paul “Beaver” Keenan, father of Andrew Keenan, and number three on the germane Civil Service list was sworn in as the Chief of the Quincy Police Department.
Whether or not any other oversight or law enforcement entity or entities might review Mayor Koch’s apparent direct and final decision to hire his nephew remains to be seen.
Similarly, whether or not Justine Rugiero and Marco Defelice might opt to sue various city officials for slander over misleading statements that they had failed psychological evaluations previously been found to have been variously flawed and/or invalid also remains to be seen.
Whether or not this latest QPD kerfuffle rates mention by Bad Cop – No Donut also remains to be seen.