CHARLESTON - Charleston Mayor Danny Jones and Police Chief Brent Webster have filed two Motions to Dismiss in separate lawsuits that call the City Police's employee-promoting methods into question.
Valerie Strege and Robert E. Brown each filed lawsuits in Kanawha Circuit Court in February charging that they were unfairly overlooked for promotions when it became apparent that new positions would be available.
They both listed Jones, Webster and the Police Civil Service Commission and its President George Henderson, Vice President Thomas Smith and Commissioner Lew Tyree as defendants.
Both complaints were Petitions for Declaratory Judgment, and Brown's stated that the results of a promotional test taken in 2003 should have been the basis for the new promotions, which took place in 2005.
"Petitioners asked (the Civil Service Commission) to extend the 2003 list so that appointments could continue to be made from it," the Motion to Dismiss says. "However, the CSC denied the request. The Petitioner did not appeal that decision. As a result, the 2005 list properly went into effect and promotions have been made from it.
"It is only now, after voluntarily waiving any appeal rights to the CSC's decision and after other officers have been promoted from the 2005 list that the Petitioner brings this complaint."
The Motion also states that the petitioners' request for Declaratory Judgment is improper and should instead either be seeking a writ of mandamus or bringing a normal complaint.
"Thus, the Court should clarify the proper designation of Petitioner's filing, and, regardless of its designation, should dismiss petitioner's alleged cause of action for failure to state a claim for which relief is provided under West Virginia law," the Motion states.
Brown had argued that he was overlooked for a promotion to Corporal. The Motion to Dismiss argues that Brown finished 22nd out of 35 patrolmen eligible to become corporals on the 2003 exam. On the 2005 test, he was 21 st out of 40.
Strege had a similar complaint that she was overlooked for the position of Lieutenant. The Motion to Dismiss says she was seventh out of 10 sergeants eligible for a promotion based on the results of 2003's test and was 10 th out of 13 on the 2005 test.
"Petitioner's name had not risen to the top of the list to be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant prior to the expiration of the 2003 list and the administration of the 2005 promotion examination," the Motion says.
Nathan A. Hicks is representing both Strege and Brown, while City Attorney Paul D. Ellis is handling the defense.
Kanawha Circuit Court case numbers 06-C-299 and 06-C-328