A civil suit is ongoing that began last month upon the filing of a complaint alleging that a prospective candidate for Greenfield’s police chief was not allowed to retake an examination for the post due to the circumstances of the situation.
On Thursday, during a phone conference between plaintiff Sgt. Gary Schraw’s attorney and the attorney representing Greenfield, along with police Chief Tim Hester and the Greenfield Civil Service Commission, the test scores previously ordered to remain closed were opened by Highland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rocky Coss, according to an entry the judge filed late Thursday morning.
Coss said in the entry that during a conversation with the attorneys earlier this week “the parties agreed” that the court would open the results of the police chief examination administered on Sept. 15 to determine that anyone having a sufficient score making them eligible for appointment to chief “would as a result be an interested party in this litigation.”
Upon opening the scores from the written test, and in combination with the interview scores, it was found that two officers, Jennifer Lowe and James Leeth, “have a sufficient overall score to be eligible” to be appointed chief “depending upon the outcome of the case,” Coss wrote in his entry.
The entry also states that the two candidates “are necessary interested parties and must be joined as parties to this action.”
Coss said Thursday that the two potential candidates for chief now have the opportunity to obtain an attorney “and assert their interests” in the matter.
The entry orders an amended complaint be filed by the plaintiff “joining” the two candidates found to have sufficient scores. Also, the village of Greenfield, Hester, and the commission are not required to answer the Oct. 8 complaint as an amended one is to be filed.
The need for the examinations for police chief is due to current chief Tim Hester’s impending retirement at the end of the year.
As previously reported, sergeant exams were taken on June 19, and a police chief exam on June 18, according to the complaint filed on behalf of Schraw on Oct. 8. Personal interviews followed, but it was later announced by the commission that no candidate for chief had a sufficient score.
Another exam was set for September, and a list of materials for that exam published. Schraw applied to take the exam, the complaint says, but then a different list of reference materials was published thereby excluding those who had taken the June 18 chief’s exam from retaking the September test, but making eligible those who had taken the June 19 sergeant’s exam.
The complaint filed in October also alleges unfair advantages that other candidates could have allegedly had in their testing and scoring.
“The inherently flawed nature of the testing and the interviewing procedures undertaken by the Village, the Commission, and Hester … have deprived (Schraw) of any reasonable opportunity to become chief of police of the Village,” reads the complaint.
At the time the complaint was filed, Coss issued a temporary restraining order barring the opening of the Sept. 15 exam scores until a temporary injunction hearing, first set for October and then continued to this week.
Another hearing is set for Dec. 30.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.