JOHN BURKE v. BRIDGEPORT CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION et al., SC 18349

Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport

Civil Service Examinations; Whether Police Officer Had Standing to Challenge Method of Scoring Promotional Examination due to Police Union's Status as Exclusive Bargaining Representative for Uniformed Officers; Whether Court Properly Determined that 7-474 (g) did not Require the City to Negotiate With Union Regarding Scoring Method. The plaintiff police officer is a member of the Bridgeport Police Union (union). On September 9, 2006, he took a civil service promotional examination for the position of detective. On December 7, 2006, a promotional list was published, and the plaintiff ranked sixth on the list. Thereafter, the grader, who had assigned a weight of fifty percent to each of the two test components, rescored the examinations using a weighting of seventy/thirty percent. Based on the rescoring, a second promotional list was generated on which the plaintiff ranked number one. The union objected to the rescoring, arguing that under General Statutes 7-474 (g), the city was required to use the "raw scoring" method that it had utilized in grading the 2001 detective examination. Section 7-474 (g), in relevant part, provides: "Once the procedures for the promotional process have been established by the municipality, any changes to the process proposed by the municipality concerning the following issues shall be subject to collective bargaining . . . (2) the relative weight to be attached to each method of examination." The examination was then rescored a third time, using the raw scoring method, and a third promotional list was generated on July 13, 2007. The plaintiff ranked nineteenth on this list. After unsuccessfully appealing the rescoring method to the civil service commission, the plaintiff brought this action against the commission and Bridgeport's personnel director. The union intervened and filed a cross complaint seeking an order of mandamus compelling the defendants to rescore the examination using the raw scoring method. The union claimed that the defendants had no discretion to change the weight given to each test component absent its agreement. It also moved to dismiss the plaintiff's action for lack of standing, arguing that it was the exclusive bargaining representative for the plaintiff. The trial court determined that the city was not bound to use the grading method that it had used in 2001 and that to require it to use this method would create fixed examination procedures and mandate collective bargaining in a plethora of situations in contravention of the purpose of 7-474 (g). It also agreed with the city that the second and third eligibility lists had not been posted within ninety days as required by the city charter and that the third list suffered from the additional infirmity of having an adverse impact on African-American candidates. Moreover, it determined that the city had no obligation to negotiate with the union regarding its fifty/fifty method of scoring of the first test. It thus found that the union was not the exclusive representative of the plaintiff and denied the union's motion to dismiss. It then rendered a judgment for the plaintiff on his complaint and for the defendants on the union's cross complaint, and it ordered the defendants to make promotions pursuant to the initial eligibility list of December 7, 2006. In this appeal, the Supreme Court will review the trial court's findings.