Civil Service Overturns Another Boston Psychological Bypass

In January, 2010 in Savickas v. City of Boston, G1-07-51 the Civil Service commission concluded that the Boston Police department had improperly bypassed the appellant for original appointment to the position of Police Officer as being Psychologically unfit.

In deciding the case they stated “the rules under which BPD may justify a bypass for medical reasons, including psychiatric reasons are spelled out by HRD’s regulations for “Initial medical and physical fitness standards for municipal public safety personnel” which is supposedly incorporated into BPD’s proposed psychological screening plan. The standard group category “A” psychiatric medical condition, which is an automatic disqualifying condition, requires proof that a police officer applicant carries a psychiatric diagnosis of certain psychiatric “disorders” as defined by the DSM — IV. Category “B” psychiatric medical conditions includes {“ history”of any psychiatric condition, he ain’t your disorder, or substance abuse problem not covered by category A. Such history shall be evaluated based on the individual’s history, current status, prognosis, and ability to respond to the stressors of the job.

The appellate denied ever having any problems with depression, anxiety or other psychological conditioning or substance abuse and Dr. Reade did not make any determination that he did.

Dr. Reade concluded, in summary after her only interview of the appellate the following: Mr. Savickas appears to be a gregarious, hard-working man, who has shown a clear interest in police work, but has a history of well-intentioned but impulsive behavior and poor judgment area. The examples include recent behavior of work, his decisions related to school, his decisions regarding his car and his problems managing or attending to his financial obligations………. Individually, these lapses are not grave, but taken as a whole indicate, in my opinion, a lack of maturity and willingness to take full responsibility for his actions. Those reasons, Mr. Savickas is currently found unacceptable for the police department.”

However, Dr. Reade in forming this opinion after only one interview seems to have relied on isolated negative circumstances, which she emphasized while ignoring the vast bulk of substantial positives in his background. She mischaracterized some of those circumstances, formed erroneous assumptions or ignored explanations for them. The appellant is hard-working, usually holding down more than one job simultaneously while also attending school. Financial stress on the appellant, resulting in part from school expenses affected his credit rating for a period. Yet, Dr. Reade found that his low credit rating in the past or missed student loan payments was mismanagement, she didn’t credit him for having subsequently rectified is lowered score or his decision on non-payment of his own student loans in order to pay off his mothers cosigned loan to avoid impact on her credit rate. Lack of sufficient financial resources during the relevant period is characterized by Dr. Reade as “mismanagement. A poor credit rating, like a criminal or driving record should have been measured by the application of a clear establish standard, administratively by the BPD, to disqualify a candidate. The appellants strong and long-term behavior and characteristic traits were attested to by numerous people in writing and several in testimony at this hearing. All of those witnesses were available to Dr. Reade, if she chose to contact them to corroborate or test her opinion of unfitness. This conclusion of Dr. Reade is contradicted by the appellants extensive background history. Indeed, the appellants impressive personal, community volunteer, employment and educational background in conjunction with his above average testimonial performance, substantially counter weighs that conclusion.

As explained here and, the appellant was not fairly and adequately considered and has not received fair and equal treatment, free from arbitrary and capriscious action. Specifically, in deciding that he was psychologically unqualified for appointment as a Boston police officer by her. The respondent applied the wrong standard and inexplicibly failed to adequately consider his documented successful performance in the field of law enforcement and security.”

Commentary

Another successful Bypass appeal. After being disqualified as a candidate for Boston police, the Law Office of Brian Simoneau successfully had the case overturned.

Attorney Ronald A. Sellon

About Attorney Ronald A. Sellon

Ronald A. Sellon is a licensed Attorney in the state of Massachusetts and U.S. District Court, Massachusetts as well as a Sergeant with a Municipal Police Department and U.S. military Veteran. Additionally, he has taught Criminal Procedure at the Massachusetts State Police Academy in New Braintree and has written a text on Criminal Procedure for police field training officer programs. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, was a 2008 recipient of the Massachusetts Coalition of Police (Mass C.O.P.) Presidents award and holds a Bachelors Degree in Law Enforcement, a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice Administration, and a Juris Doctor Law Degree. Questions related to content material may be directed to RSellon@PoliceLegalPromotions.com
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