Austin Police members are asking a judge to appoint a third-party arbiter to settle a dispute they have with department leaders after several of them were denied the opportunity to take a test for promotion.
A lawsuit filed Thursday in Travis County says a promotional list for sergeants expired on Oct. 7, 2016. Several officers, including Corporal David Silva, sought promotion, but were unable to do so because they were not given a test to become eligible. Without that test, promotion to commander and all lower positions could not occur.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Austin Police Association President Ken Casady against the officers’ Civil Service Commission and Civil Service Director, the City of Austin, and APD interim Chief Brian Manley.
The officers are asking a hearing examiner to decide whether the department violated an agreement.
According to the lawsuit, Casady on Sept. 20 filed a grievance via email, reminding the police association’s grievance committee that the list was about to expire. An agreement between the city and the police association suggests a usual six-month study period before the exam, Casady wrote, adding the time frame could be shortened to avoid the expiration.
Art Acevedo, the police chief at the time, responded to Casady on Oct. 7, the expiration date, and denied his grievance. Acevedo noted there were two commander vacancies on the staff, but no existing promotional eligibility list from which to fill those vacancies. Therefore, Acevedo said, any trickle-down promotions could not lawfully be made.