In The News › ‘Colonel’ position ruling deferred

Feb 22, 2011

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Civil Service, Orleans Parish

‘Colonel’ position ruling deferred

Commission tables the issue

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
By Brendan McCarthy
The Times-Picayune

The city’s Civil Service Commission deferred a ruling Monday on a plan to add another layer to the New Orleans Police Department’s upper ranks, opting to take the matter up in a special meeting next week.

The commission tabled the issue after hearing impassioned pleas from advocates on both sides of Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas’ plan to create a new, hybrid position of police “colonel.”

The 16 colonel positions would rank as the third-highest position within the NOPD. It would be an appointed rank, lacking permanent status and civil service protections. And if replaced, a colonel would revert to a lower classified position.

Serpas has said the new position would allow him to dip deeper into the ranks, from a pool of majors, captains or lieutenants, to select top commanders.

“I want fresh leadership,” he recently said.

At Monday’s hearing, a member of the city’s Civil Service department told the commission that the group backs the plan but has several concerns. For example, the group was unable to come up with a job description that didn’t mirror the duties of other top-ranking police officers.

Susan Hutson, the city’s police monitor, also spoke at the hearing.

She questioned the legality of the colonel position and suggested an outside review process be used to select or evaluate candidates chosen for the spot. Hutson repeatedly noted she supported Serpas in his endeavor, but that she would like to see more information on the proposal.

Janet Howard, of the Bureau of Governmental Research, questioned the need for provisional appointments. Howard noted, however, that she supported the chief’s push to choose his top managers and give them more responsibility. The civil service system is broken and needs reform, Howard added.

Serpas said he’s open to tweaking his proposal, and he reiterated that change in the NOPD is greatly needed.

“I don’t think anybody who looks at the police department today can say the status quo is the answer.” he said.

The local police representative groups — the Fraternal Order of Police lodge, the Police Association of New Orleans and the Black Organization of Police — have all criticized Serpas’ plan. Some said the colonel position would signal the erosion of civil service protections in the city.

Serpas presented his proposal at last month’s Civil Service Commission hearing. The commission gave tacit approval of the proposal but asked the different camps to work out the kinks and meet again Monday.

Feb 22, 2011

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Civil Service, Orleans Parish

Fair Use Notice

This site occasionally reprints copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues and to highlight the accomplishments of our affiliates. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is available without profit. For more information go to: US CODE: Title 17,107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.