City officials were more than confident in interviews last Tuesday afternoon that there would be no Civil Service Chief’s Exam coming from the state anytime soon.
In the drama surrounding the permanent appointment of Chief Tony Carli on Jan. 27, at the center of that has been whether or not the state would schedule a Civil Service Chief’s Exam this month – something they hadn’t been done in more than three years.
Fire Union President Craig Hardy had been adamant that a test was coming soon.
But City officials said last Tuesday they had serious doubts about that.
“Craig Hardy has been telling me there’s going to be a test very soon since I started this job,” said Lara Wehbe, director of Human Resources.
“And we haven’t seen or heard of one yet,” added City Solicitor Colleen Mejia.
On Wednesday afternoon, the state issued a call for a Civil Service Chief’s Exam – releasing the reading list and study list for a test that is scheduled for July 31.
Hardy said he believes the City now has to call for the exam, as it is within the Fire Union contract to call for the test now that the state has issued it.
“The timing isn’t cool,” said Hardy this week. “The membership is all on the same page. We don’t always agree all the time, but we all agree there was an unfair advantage with the Assessment Center and they should call for this exam. If they refuse to call it and ignore it, we have another complaint. Before, they didn’t have to because Civil Service wasn’t calling for the exam. Now Civil Service is calling for the exam. It’s on them now to send us the e-mail. My inclination is they will ignore it and we’ll have our lawyer get involved. If they ignore that, we’ll have to put in a grievance.”
Mayor Carlo DeMaria said the City simply used the same process many communities use now, that being an Assessment Center. That Civil Service process took exactly one year ago, and Chief Carli scored higher than the other applicants.
Mayor DeMaria said the decision to make Chief Carli permanent was determined before the Chief’s Exam announcement.
“Chief Carli had been the Acting Chief of 3 1/2 years and has done an outstanding job for the residents of Everett,” he said. “The City chose to utilize the civil service assessment center as many communities do because of the infrequency of the scheduling of the Chief’s exam. In the assessment, Chief Carli scored 6 points higher than the other candidates. The decision to make Chief Carli permanent was based on his experience and the assessment center results. Additionally, this was determined prior to the announcement of any Chief’s exam.”
The announcement, however, did take some councilors aback – as they had called for a postponement of the vote to see if an exam would come out. That, they said at the time, was in the spirit of fairness for all members of the union – and also due to the fact that there is an outstanding Fire Union complaint at the Department of Labor due to the Assessment Center process. A previous Civil Service complaint by the union against the Assessment Center was decided in favor of the City.
Nevertheless, Councilor Michael McLaughlin said he had suggested the vote on Chief Carli held up a few weeks because of just this kind of circumstance unfolding.
Likewise, Councilor Gerly Adrien had also called for a postponement of the vote in case a test were to come out, so that all union members could have a chance to compete on a written exam for the job of chief.
The Chief’s Exam reading list includes nine texts that will be covered on the July 31 exam. It is uncertain, at this point, if that exam will be called for in Everett.