Middletown City Council has updated the procedures to promote its police chief, deputy police chiefs, sergeants, fire chief and assistant fire chief. The revised procedures were approved by council at its Sept. 3 meeting as a new police chief will need to be selected by the end of the year to replace police Chief Rodney Muterspaw who is retiring in January 2020.

Middletown changing how it promotes police, fire officials ahead of chief’s retirement

Middletown City Council last week approved an emergency ordinance to amend the promotion process for police chief and deputy chief as well as for fire chief and assistant chief. City officials requested emergency approval due to the timing of the upcoming promotional exams.

On Aug. 12, Muterspaw, 50, announced he was retiring from the Division of Police in January 2020, capping a 30-year career. He has served as the city’s chief for the past five years.

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The new ordinance eliminates some public safety positions that do not exist anymore and amends the police promotion process.

The city charter requires the police and fire chiefs to be promoted from within the ranks and remain as classified employees.

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Positions eliminated from the ordinance were public safety cadets, public safety director, police lieutenants and assistant police chief.

The changes also replace references of assistant police chief to deputy police chief and lieutenant to sergeant.

Those eligible to compete for police chief must be a deputy chief and have held that rank for at least one year prior to the testing date. If less than two eligible persons register to compete for police chief, the registration period will be reopened to employees with the next lower rank of sergeant with at least two years at that rank.

Those competing for police chief must pass the assessment center and be certified by the civil service commission for consideration for appointment by the city manager. The city manager can conduct additional testing as well as psychological examination and interviews as deemed necessary. The city manager may select any candidate from the eligibility list which is valid for one year after certified.

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For the position of deputy chief, sergeants with at least two years at that rank prior to the test date are eligible to compete for the position. The candidates must pass an assessment center and additional testing may be conducted. The city manager may select any candidate on the list upon the recommendation of the police chief. That list is also valid for one year.

Police officers with five years service are eligible to compete for promotion to sergeant. Candidates have to pass the written test with a score of 70 percent or better prior to the addition of seniority points to be eligible for the assessment process. The candidates will also be subject to additional testing as deemed necessary. The sergeants list will also be valid for one year after certification.

The procedure is similar for promotion to fire chief and assistant fire chief. Those seeking to become fire chief or assistant fire chief must have held the rank of assistant fire chief or deputy fire chief for at least one year prior to the test announcement. There is also a provision to reopen registration to next lower ranks if necessary.

In addition, candidates must successfully pass an assessment center and may be subject to additional testing. The city manager can select anyone from the eligibility list, which will be valid for one year.

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