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Quincy police appointments resolve 7-year Civil Service dispute

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  January 26, 2012 01:00 PM

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A seven-year Civil Service dispute comes to a close with the hiring and promotion of two officers to the Quincy Police Department this past week.

Christopher Bulger, previously a Harvard University police officer, was recently hired as a patrolman for Quincy. Likewise, Sgt. Paul Turowski, who has worked for the city since 1983, was promoted to lieutenant.

Both men had argued through the state's Civil Service Commission that they had been overlooked for jobs and promotions in cases that dated back as far as 2005.

According to the Civil Service documents, Bulger said he was overlooked for a position on the police force in 2003 and again in 2005.

At the time, the city cited various reasons for the choice, including numerous motor vehicle accidents, discrepancy on DMV documents, and failure to mention one previous place of employment.

However, a 2009 majority decision of the Commission admitted the appeal of the bypass, and put Bulger on top of the list of candidates to be hired should a position open up.

Bulger, who is not related to retired state Senator William Bulger or James "Whitey" Bulger, was hired for the position of officer this past week.

Likewise, Turowski said he was overlooked for a promotion in 2005. Although he was ranked high on the list, Turowski said six other applicants were selected even though they were lower on the list.

Two of the candidates were related to the appointing authority -- the mayor at the time, William Phelan -- when the decision was made. One was above Turowski on the elligibility list, the other below.

Once the process began, Phelan was asked to distance himself from the proceedings due to his relations of the appointees. He subsequently requested than then Chief Robert Crowley conduct the interviews.

However Turowski, who had cancer in 1990, was penalized for his use of sick leave during the application process, the civil document said.

"The sick leave use at the QPD is proscribed in the collective bargained agreement and requires medical documentation for sick leave taken beyond a certain amount. The
Appellant complied with all of the requirements for his past sick leave use and all said use, including FMLA, had been previously approved by the Department," the ruling states.

A five-day suspension was also part of the reason the city gave for bypassing the applicant, but the commission determined that suspensions had played little role in the hiring of other applicants.

As such, Turowski was placed at the top of the eligibility list for appointment in a decision issued in 2008, and hired this week.

Former Mayor Phelan, now the town manager of Holbrook, did not have a comment on the cases. Neither Bulger or Turowski returned calls seeking comment.

City spokesperson Christopher Walker said these most recent appointments consisted of a background check more than a job interview, and couldn't recall if anyone else had been interviewed for the positions this time around.

Regardless, the mayor appointed both to the positions without issue. Overall, the appointments rectify events that happened before the tenure of current Mayor Thomas Koch, Walker said.

"The civil service issued a ruling some time ago on matters that had happened long before the police chief or the mayor were in their roles. This is essentially the outcome of those decisions," he said.

Although Turowski is eligible for back pay under the Civil Service ruling, Walker said that "we don?t think that that's going to be an issue. We hope it's not going to be an issue."

Quincy police said the recent appointments filled vacated positions and did not entail the creation of any new roles. Police officials had no comment on the hiring beyond that.

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