MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio — The lateral transfer hiring process currently being considered for use by the Middleburg Heights Police Department is still “a work in progress,” according to Civil Service Commission Chairman Tim Miranda. The policy also is under consideration for the fire department.
He and commission members met Dec. 19 with city officials, as well as police and fire department representatives, to continue discussing a policy by which safety personnel could be hired from outside the city without having to take the Middleburg civil service exam.
Candidates for police officer positions would be required to have been employed as a peace officer within the preceding year (having passed that employer’s civil service exam) and complete an employment application. The applicant would also need to submit a resume and current certificate of physical agility, and agree to a background check, polygraph examination, drug screening and in-person interview. The process would apply only to appointments to the rank of police officer.
Dave Dacek, president of Middleburg Heights Firefighters Local 2018, expressed opposition to the proposed policy. In a Dec. 4 letter to Miranda, he indicated the union “finds it foolish and irresponsible to modify the current system.”
“We believe a change allowing lateral transfers will taint the hiring process, lower the quality of candidates and have negative ramifications for current members of the safety departments,” Dacek wrote.
At the Dec. 19 meeting, Dacek said the union’s stance has not changed.
“We just want to go on record that our union from the fire department doesn’t like this process,” he said. “We don’t feel it would be beneficial.”
Miranda emphasized no commission decision yet has been reached.
“At this point, I consider this a work in progress,” Miranda said.
“This is only for entry level … and we’re only going to do this at the time there are less than 10 remaining names on the (candidate) eligibility list,” added commission member Jim Sheppard, stressing the process must be open and fair. “This is not in lieu of the testing and certification of those names.”
Separate meetings will be held between fire department officials and city administrators to discuss the policy. Miranda said the commission will meet with the city’s safety committee, possibly in January, before voting on a finalized process for the police department.