On appeal, Jersey City denied motion to stay after civil service upheld lieutenants’ exam


The Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division denied Jersey City’s motion to stay after the the New Jersey Civil Service Commission ruled in the police superior officers association’s favor to uphold a lieutenant’s exam.

Photo courtesy of the City of Jersey City.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“[The city] contends that the scheduled administration of the examination will: 1) impinge on the City’s managerial prerogative; 2) create false hope for applicants that they might be promoted; and 3) moot the City’s appeal,” New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin wrote in an October 5th brief to the appellate court.

“None of these arguments come close to demonstrating irreparable harm. First, the administration of the examination and creation of a resulting eligible list will have absolutely no effect on the City’s hiring prerogatives. The City is in no way required to appoint additional lieutenants if it does not want to.”

He continued that the list would simply provided the city with a list of qualified candidates to choose from in the event that they decide to do promotions, therefore it does not impact their hiring prerogatives and in no way can be considered to cause harm.

Furthermore, the AG pointed out that the city’s contention that studying for an examination would detract from the work of its sergeants “strains all logic.”

“We further note that the administration of the examination would not require the City to make appointments if it did not want to do so, a point which further undermines the City’s claim of irreparable harm. The motion for stay is denied,” Appellate Judge Jack M. Sabatino ruled on October 12th.

Ranking members of the Jersey City Police Superior Officers Association praised the New Jersey Civil Service Commission for shooting down the city’s appeal in August and decided to do a victory lap today shortly after the city announced a federal lawsuit challenging the legality of officers using cannabis off duty.

“Our triumph in the appellate court combined with the Attorney General’s support shines a light on Mayor Fulop’s potentially politically-motivated attempts to tamper with police department functions,” PSOA President Capt. Pawel Wojtowicz said in a statement.

“While we applaud the appellate court decision, we’re also realizing the depth of the political motivations behind the City’s decisions. It’s disheartening to deduce that Mayor Fulop is potentially using the police department’s size and functions as leverage for his gubernatorial ambitions.”

He also claimed that the city is pushing for a reduction in supervisory roles, which is already 17 percent lower than what a department of their size (about 975 officers) should have.

Counsel for the PSOA has previously said in court filings that 32 of the 66 current lieutenants are already eligible to retire, while 64 sergeants are eligible to take the test.

While the PSOA can claim victory in this round, the saga is likely to continue for quite some time given that, the Public Employment Relations Commission sided with the city in August shortly after the NJCSC decision, as HCV first reported.

However, that is unlikely to make a difference with the test scheduled for Thursday.

A city spokeswoman did not return an email seeking comment.

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