Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post State Supreme Court News

    By JR ROSS
    Associated Press Writer
    MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Police officers and firefighters who fail
    to complete probationary promotions for nondisciplinary reasons are
    not entitled to a hearing to appeal the decision, the state Supreme
    Court ruled Friday in separate cases.
    The court also explicitly granted police chiefs and police and
    fire commissions the authority to promote officers on a
    probationary basis.
    The justices ruled 6-1 that the City of Waukesha Police and Fire
    Commission acted properly when it denied Steven E. Kraus a hearing
    to appeal a decision to return him to his rank of patrol officer.
    He had failed to successfully complete a probationary promotion to
    sergeant.
    They also voted 4-3 that Madison firefighter Chris Gentilli was
    not entitled to an arbitration hearing after the chief told
    Gentilli his probationary promotion had been revoked.
    Officers are given probationary promotions to gauge how they
    will perform in a higher rank before assuming the job permanently.
    State law requires a hearing when an officer fails to complete
    probation because of disciplinary reasons.
    John Fuchs, Kraus' attorney, said Friday's decisions mean those
    officers have greater protections under state law than those who
    fail a probationary promotion for nondisciplinary reasons, such as
    their performance.
    Chiefs "can just unilaterally declare you're not doing a good
    job and not give him a hearing," Fuchs said.
    Kraus joined the Waukesha Police Department in 1990 and the
    chief promoted him to sergeant in 1997, subject to his successful
    completion of a one-year probationary period. A week before the
    period ended, Kraus was told he had failed to complete the
    probation, though no specific reason was given for his return to
    patrol officer.
    Kraus then asked the police and fire commission for a hearing,
    arguing the chief had no authority under state law to grant a
    probationary promotion and he was entitled to a hearing on what his
    rank should be.
    The commission denied the request, saying a hearing was not
    required because his failure to complete probation was based on
    performance.
    A circuit court upheld the commission's decision and Kraus
    appealed. The appeals court sent the case directly to the Supreme
    Court.
    The justices ruled that the power to grant probationary
    promotions is inherent to police chiefs and commissions, although
    it is not expressly spelled out in state statutes.
    "Numerous management tools integrally related to appointment,
    such as interviews, references and letters of recommendation, are
    not expressly enumerated in that statute. These tools are not
    forbidden simply because they are not enumerated," Justice David
    Prosser wrote for the majority.
    Gentilli was promoted in 1995. But 11 months into his 12-month
    probation, the chief told him the probation had been revoked.
    Gentilli filed a grievance through his union seeking
    reinstatement to his promotion with back pay and benefits
    associated with the higher rank.
    The union then filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Employment
    Relations Commission, which ruled Gentilli was entitled to
    arbitration.
    A circuit court agreed, and the appeals court sent the case
    directly to the Supreme Court.
    The Supreme Court reversed the ruling, saying the authority to
    determine who is qualified for appointment and promotion rests
    solely under state law with the chief and the police and fire
    commission and may not be transferred to an arbitrator.
    Attorney Bruce Ehlke, who represented Gentilli, said chiefs and
    police and fire commissions now have the authority to trump
    officers' rights to arbitration.
    "Police and firefighters should expect further diminution of
    their rights," he said.
    Gentilli was dismissed from the Madison fire department on an
    unrelated incident as part of an investigation into drug use by
    firefighters. Ehlke said part of Gentilli's appeal of his dismissal
    is still pending in court.
    ---
    On the Net:
    State Court System: http://www.courts.state.wi.us/

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


  2. #2
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post Disciplinary Hearings

    MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Police and fire commissions can hire
    independent hearing examiners to speed up disciplinary cases
    against police officers or firefighters, the state Supreme Court
    ruled Tuesday.
    A Madison firefighters' union sued to stop the city's police and
    fire commission from using hearing examiners to expedite cases as
    part of an investigation into cocaine trafficking at a downtown
    Madison bar. The union claimed having an examiner, rather than the
    full commission, hear cases violates firefighters' and police
    officers' due process rights.
    But the state Supreme Court said in a 4-3 decision that
    implementing the rule permitting hearing examiners "provides a
    rational and efficient means of carrying out the board's duties."
    Justice Patrick Crooks, writing for the court's majority, said
    firefighters' due process rights are not harmed because the
    commission, not the hearing examiner, makes the final decision.
    Madison Fire Chief Debra Amesqua filed disciplinary charges
    connected to the drug investigation against seven firefighters
    alleging they used or sold cocaine. Five firefighters were fired
    after an investigation, and four of those firings were upheld in
    court. Two others were demoted and suspended.
    The commission, made up of community residents, usually meets
    only during evenings or weekends. State law requires the department
    to pay firefighters while they are under suspension, which was one
    reason the commission wanted to expedite the cases, said commission
    attorney Scott Herrick.
    "We had cases that were going on for three months," he said.
    The union appealed after the 4th District Court of Appeals ruled
    hiring examiners was within the board's authority under state law.
    The appeals court decision overturned Dane County Circuit Judge
    Moria Krueger, who said state law doesn't include justification for
    hiring examiners.
    Aaron Halstead, an attorney for Firefighters Local 311, did not
    immediately return a telephone message Tuesday to The Associated
    Press.
    Herrick said the commission didn't get to use hearing examiners
    in the drug-related cases because it put those plans on hold while
    the court challenge was pending. But Herrick said the decision will
    have statewide impact, and he expected other city police and fire
    commissions to adopt similar rules.
    Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justices William Bablitch
    and Ann Walsh Bradley dissented from the majority opinion.
    Abrahamson wrote the effect of the rule is to "transform the board
    from a decision-making body into a reviewing body and eliminate the
    right of Madison police officers and firefighters to request a
    hearing before the board."
    Abrahamson said the decision, along with two decisions the court
    released last week, erode the rights of police officers and
    firefighters to obtain a just cause hearing before the police and
    fire commission.
    The court ruled in those decisions that police officers and
    firefighters who fail to complete probationary promotions for
    nondisciplinary reasons are not entitled to a hearing to appeal the
    decision.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Wisconsin Court System: http://www.courts.state.wi.us

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts