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  • Error gave No. 3 cop plum job

    http://omaha.com/article/20100330/NE...009&frompost=1

    Published Tuesday March 30, 2010

    Error gave No. 3 cop plum job
    By Bob Glissmann
    WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER


    The top scorer on an Omaha police promotion exam wasn't promoted to captain and the No. 3 scorer was after an outside expert erred in tabulating the results.

    In the wake of the error, the City of Omaha plans to review its testing procedures for promotions.

    "We can't live with a lack of credibility in the testing process," said Richard O'Gara, the city's human resources director.

    As for what will happen with the police captains, Police Chief Alex Hayes said he needs more information before deciding.

    AdvertisingThe city conducted tests for police captain over the course of a couple months in 2009. Six lieutenants took the test, O'Gara said.

    The mistake, he said, was made by researchers at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, who had been enlisted to compile test results after the police union expressed concerns about the city's testing process.

    After the researchers entered the test data on a spreadsheet, O'Gara said, they incorrectly sorted the data. That created a mathematical problem in compiling the total scores, according to an Omaha police union memo.

    The first set of scores ranked the actual top scorer No. 3.

    Only the top two scorers out of the six lieutenants who took the test were to be promoted to captain. O'Gara said the mistake affected the order of the top scorers.

    There was no fault on the part of the test-takers.

    O'Gara declined to identify the UNO researchers who scored the tests, saying, "We want to maintain our relationship with UNO."

    A UNO spokeswoman said school officials would not comment and referred questions to the city. Information on the costs associated with UNO's work was unavailable Tuesday.

    The scoring error was discovered earlier this month by the lieutenant who ranked No. 4 on the test and had asked to review his results, O'Gara said.

    A city human resources employee then spent a weekend going through the test results, confirming that an error had occurred, he said.

    Although O'Gara wouldn't say which police lieutenant scored highest, two people with knowledge of the situation said Lt. Greg Gonzalez was the officer who was incorrectly ranked No. 3 but actually had the top score.

    Lt. Kathy Belcastro-Gonzalez, who happens to be Greg Gonzalez's wife, was the No. 2 scorer; and Lt. Michele Bang had the No. 3 score.

    Belcastro-Gonzalez and Bang were promoted to captain at a Feb. 12 ceremony, about a month before the error was discovered.

    The difference for Greg Gonzalez is hardly academic: A lieutenant with more than three years at that rank, he is paid $75,729 annually, according to salary guidelines. A newly named police captain, the guidelines say, is paid $81,251.

    Bang has been an Omaha police officer since July 1993. Belcastro-Gonzalez has been on the force since April 1994, and Greg Gonzalez joined in January 1995.

    Bang and Gonzalez both were promoted to lieutenant in February 2007.

    The UNO researchers are reviewing the testing data to make sure the recalculated results are correct, Chief Hayes said.

    After city and police officials hear back from UNO, they will sit down with the six who took the test and present the corrected results. They then will talk with the police union and propose a remedy to the affected officers, Hayes said.

    "At that point, I have to decide what to do to make that work," he said.

    Last year, O'Gara said, 3,100 city employees — most in the Police and Fire Departments — tested for 18 different jobs with the city.

    Officer Aaron Hanson, president of the police union, said he welcomed news of the review of the city's testing process.

    "I think we're in need of it," he said. "We've had too many errors in too many tests."

    Hanson said problems previously had come up in connection with testing for lieutenants and sergeants. John Corrigan, an attorney representing the union, said the city had allowed police officers to test for promotions when they weren't eligible to take the tests. That issue eventually was resolved, he said.

    Hanson said promotions are important to officers.

    "We have to make sure whatever is done, whatever remedy," he said, "is appropriate to fix the situation."

    Contact the writer:

    444-1109, [email protected]
    Some people were just dropped on their heads as children more than the rest of us!

  • #2
    Wow, this is interesting. I was just talking about the promotion system at LPD with a friend of mine who is on the department there. In Lincoln, they base their promotions strictly on the test scores of the candidates, and it seems from the article that this is the case in Omaha. Am I right in saying that? Wouldn't it make more sense for promotions to consist of a multitude of things, such as a review of your prior job performance, test scores, and maybe a small interview? I know it would take more time and resources to do it this way, but it would help eliminate mistakes like this one...and probably be more fair in the end.

    Comment


    • #3
      I guess I just don't see why they are paying this college to grade the test. Is that not why they have a City Personnel Department? Not to mention one moment this college's CJ Department is bashing the Police Department and the next they are grading promotional test for that same Department???
      Some people were just dropped on their heads as children more than the rest of us!

      Comment


      • #4
        Speaking of police unions at what rank would policeman become management rather than union officer? I know with the UP Rail Road workers that is they take a supervisor position they give up being union?

        Comment


        • #5
          Each agency is different. Our's is anything LT. and above. I'm not sure about OPD now days.
          Some people were just dropped on their heads as children more than the rest of us!

          Comment


          • #6
            I don't know about anyone else, but reading the article, had the true top 2 scorers been promoted, then both husband and wife would have been promoted at the same time. Instead of reading an article about an unfair testing process, we would be reading about unfair nepotism.
            What is Perseverance?
            -Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
            -Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.
            -PERSEVERANCE IS TRYING AGAIN AND AGAIN.


            BOP - BPA - ICE

            Comment


            • #7
              If the testing process was fair then nepotism doesn't come into play. Merit should be rewarded even if a married couple is the most qualified. believe they would be given roles that were completely unrelated and would perform those roles just like any other captains.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by nebraska_deputy View Post
                I guess I just don't see why they are paying this college to grade the test. Is that not why they have a City Personnel Department? Not to mention one moment this college's CJ Department is bashing the Police Department and the next they are grading promotional test for that same Department???
                I'm guessing that OPD wanted to avoid any legal issues that have plagued other Agencies in regards to testing and promotions. Farm it out to an outside vendor, and it reduced the liability the Department and City have in case some sues over discrimination or whatever...
                -"If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my children will have peace." - Thomas Paine

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sounds like a good idea, but right with the major problem's Omaha is having with their city budget all it's doing is giving these radical tax groups more ammo. Omaha is over 8 Million dollars in the hole right now, because of pension spiking. There is one particular tax group with a lot of people with a lot of money(a few large business owners) that are causing lots of waves right now with the police and fire contracts. They are scrutinizing everything the police and fire departments are doing. If they show police and fire let alone another city entity can't handle what they have they may try to ask for more cuts by out sourcing. Heck this group is so far out there they are at the point where they are wanting firefighters to fill pot holes on their down time.
                  Some people were just dropped on their heads as children more than the rest of us!

                  Comment

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