George Makes Top 4 Picks For W-B Police Department
WILKES-BARRE — Mayor Tony George has made his picks for four new hires in the police department, although the administration is keeping a lid on their identities for now.
The Wilkes-Barre Police Civil Service Commission submitted a ranked list of 32 applicants to the mayor after voting to certify the list on Feb. 14.
City Administrator Ted Wampole said on Monday that job offers have been extended to the mayor’s top four picks, and all four have accepted the offers. A swearing-in ceremony is being scheduled.
The identities of the successful applicants will be revealed at or just before the ceremony.
The top applicants on the civil service list are Samuel Davis, Gregory Perez, William Ardoline and Dennis Michael, ranked first through fourth, respectively. But the mayor is under no obligation to hire those four people.
According to civil service rules in the state code, he can consider the first three names on the list and choose to offer employment to one or none of them. If none of the first three are chosen, he can continue on to the next three on the list.
After an applicant is chosen, the mayor must then return to the first group of three applicants and again choose one or none. This process, known as the “rule of three,” continues until all positions are filled.
But if an applicant is passed over for hire more than twice, that applicant is removed from the list of eligible candidates.
State law allows a list to remain certified for up to four years, but the city’s civil service commission certified the current list for two years.
Barring any imminent retirements or terminations within the department, the new hires will bring the complement of officers to 78, including police Chief Marcella Lendacky. There are 79 police positions budgeted for 2018, Wampole has said,
The hires also are expected to help ease overtime in the department, which exceeded its $224,600 overtime budget by 159 percent last year, with more than $350,000 spent.
Assuming all four applicants who accepted job offers begin employment, two will be paid at the “Patrolman D” rate of $61,440 annually, and two that are going for Act 120 training will be paid as cadets at a rate of $43,008 until they are certified, Wampole said.
In addition to their base salaries, each officer will be entitled to other monetary benefits based on their collective bargaining agreement:
• Act 120 pay of $1,500 after one full year of service. (This is compensation officers receive in exchange for having given up parking enforcement duties to civilian employees in contract negotiations with former mayor Tom McGroarty about 15 years ago.)
• Longevity pay, which provides a 1 percent salary increase every three years; and after 22 years of service, a 1 percent increase of every two years, for up to 36 years of service.
• An annual uniform allowance of $500 beginning the second year of employment. (Officers are outfitted by the city their first year.)
Commission Chairman Frank Majikes has said 96 candidates took the written police civil service exam last year, and 65 of them completed it successfully with a score of 70 or higher. Thirty-six of those candidates passed a physical agility test in November, and 32 of them completed oral interviews, which concluded Feb. 6.
Four of the 36 interview-eligible candidates were hired in other municipalities, Majikes has said.
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Wilkes-Barre police officer applicants
The Wilkes-Barre Police Civil Service Commission last month certified the following ranked list of applicants for open positions. The list expires Feb. 14, 2020.
1. Samuel Davis
2. Gregory Perez
3. William Ardoline
4. Dennis Michael
5. James Sheridan
6. Christopher Ward
7. Michael Trotta
8. Ronald Hartman
9. Justin Morris
10. Jacob Wren
11. Anh Le
12. Timothy Brodhead
13. Joseph Benson
14. Luke Slenzak
15. Harold Jackson
16. Raul Ortiz
17. Joseph McDonald
18. Ricardo Viruet
19. Edwin Zagorsky
20. Saif Mahmoud
21. Tracy Margarum
22. Blake Brown
23. Anthony Russo
24. Thomas Sakosky
25. John Urbanski
26. Jason Crispell
27. Jonathan Kaskey
28. Anthony Pisano
29. Joshua McLeod
30. Alberto Guttierez
31. Brandon Verdekal
32. James Hazeltine