Appeals court agrees Bridgeport detective wanna-be can’t retake test

April 2, 2019

BRIDGEPORT — The state Appellate Court has upheld a lower court ruling throwing out a lawsuit against the city by one of its police officers who claimed he was improperly prevented from becoming a detective because he failed to follow the directions on the oral section of the promotional examination.

“The trial court undertook the proper analysis of the law and the facts in arriving at its conclusion that the examination was administered in accordance with the requirements of the (city) charter,” the appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

In 2017, Superior Court Judge Michael Hartmere refused to rule in favor of the lawsuit brought by Officer Edward McKiernan to block the city from using the results of the detective’s examination and allow him to retake the examination.

“The credible evidence demonstrated that the defendants administered a professionally developed job-related promotional examination in a uniform manner to all candidates,” the judge ruled at the time.

McKiernan, a police officer for 18 years, took the promotional test for the position of detective in March 2015, according to court records. After taking the written portion of the exam along with the other 70 candidates, McKiernan was given a time to appear at an assessment center to take the oral portion.

When McKiernan arrived to take the exam, he was given a copy of the exam instructions and, after a few minutes was escorted to another room to take the exam. However, during the examination McKiernan complained that he had left part of the exam preparation documents in the first room and so was unable to complete the examination.

No other candidate had forgotten the preparation documents and as a matter of fairness to all candidates, a determination was made that McKiernan would not be allowed to retake the exam, the city’s Civil Service Commission later stated. McKiernan then filed his lawsuit.

“This court finds that when he took the oral examination the plaintiff simply failed to follow the instructions,” the judge stated.