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Fountain Valley : Police Officers Drop Suit to Bar Outside Recruiting

The Fountain Valley Police Officers Assn. has dropped a lawsuit against the city which sought to prevent recruitment for the position of police lieutenant outside the Police Department.

Last month, about 40 members of the department picketed an examination site for the single lieutenant’s position. Of 10 candidates taking the test, three had been recruited from outside the department. The demonstration ended when the outside candidates removed themselves from consideration.

The lawsuit was filed in April after City Manager Judy Kelsey broke with tradition by encouraging officers from other law enforcement agencies to apply for the lieutenant’s position. Kelsey defended her move by saying she was obligated to find the very best person for the job.

The police association, however, contended that all 10 sergeants on the Fountain Valley police force are well qualified for the job, and decried the decision to look outside the department. “No other law enforcement agency in the state would seek a lieutenant from outside the department without a deficiency of qualified candidates,” an association spokesman said.

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Although the three outsiders excluded themselves from consideration, Mayor Ben Nielsen said the dismissal of the suit “clearly vindicates the city’s contention that it has the right to recruit outside the Police Department to fill a management position.”


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