Friday, February 26, 2021

Rep. Whelan On Special Commission Studying Civil Service Law, State Police Hiring Practices

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has announced the appointment of State Representative Timothy Whelan (R-Brewster) to a special legislative commission that will review the state’s civil service law and the hiring practices of the Massachusetts State Police.

Created as part of the new policing reform law signed on December 31, the commission will explore ways to improve diversity, transparency and community representation in the recruitment, hiring and training of civil service employees, as well as within the State Police and in communities that are not subject to the civil service law.

“Tim has an extensive public safety background, having previously served as a correctional officer and a State Police sergeant for many years,” said Representative Jones. “His knowledge and expertise will help to guide the commission as it looks for ways to ensure a diverse pool of qualified candidates for hiring and promotion within the ranks of the State Police and municipal departments.”

The commission itself will include a broad range of members, including representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People New England Area Conference; the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus; the Massachusetts House Asian Caucus; and the Massachusetts Municipal Association. Other organizations represented on the 29-member commission include the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association Incorporated; the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, Inc.; the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts, Inc.; the Mass. Veterans’ Service Agents Association, Inc.; and the Disabled American Veterans, Department of Massachusetts, Inc. 

The commission will study the employment, promotion, performance evaluation and disciplinary procedures used for civil service employees, municipal employees in communities not subject to the civil service law, and the State Police, and will seek to identify any barriers that exist in hiring, recruiting or promoting. The commission will also consider potential revisions to the current civil service law, including changes to civil service exams, merit preference status, eligible lists and appointment from eligible lists by hiring authorities.

As part of its undertaking, the commission will evaluate the feasibility of creating a statewide diversity office within the Executive Office of Administration and Finance to establish and oversee the implementation of affirmative action plans and guidelines for municipalities, and to monitor communities for noncompliance. The commission will also examine the feasibility and cost of hiring or appointing a diversity officer for every city or town with a municipal police or fire department.

The commission will file a report containing its findings and recommendations by September 30, 2021.

First elected to the House of Representatives in November of 2014, Whelan is currently in his fourth term representing the First Barnstable District, which is comprised of Precinct 1 in Barnstable; Precincts 1 and 2 in Brewster; the town of Dennis; and Precincts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 in Yarmouth.