Victory for Diversity: NJ Commission Ensure Promotions for Minority, Women Officers

picture of a Jersey City Police Department Badge
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NJ Commission ensures promotion opportunities for minority women officers
Jersey City, NJ
— The Jersey City Police Superior Officers Association (JC SOA) is celebrating a decisive victory for its members. The New Jersey Civil Service Commission has rejected the city’s bid to cancel promotional exams for police officers, ensuring uninterrupted advancement opportunities for a diverse array of law enforcement personnel, including numerous minority and women officers.

The Commission’s decision brings an end to a period of ambiguity for the Union’s members. It highlights the value of continued education in law enforcement, a core tenet of 21st-century policing. Furthermore, the ruling aligns with guidelines issued by the Attorney General in recent years, aimed at keeping politics out of the promotional process.

JC SOA President Pawel Wojtowicz applauded the ruling, “This is a significant triumph for the Union’s commitment to ensure fair and transparent promotional examinations for our diverse community of law enforcement officers.”

The Commission’s ruling reiterates the necessity of examinations in accordance with N.J.S.A. 11A:4-1(a) and N.J.S.A. 11A:4-2, reaffirming that vacancies should be filled by promotional exams. It also clarifies the duties of appointing authorities in promotional procedures. This decision is not only local but has statewide implications.

The Commission also upheld the historical practices outlined in the Matter of Promotional Lists for Public Safety Titles. They emphasized the need to maintain a continuous roster of eligible candidates to fill any vacancies swiftly.

John Friend, JC SOA Vice-President, stated, “This decision underscores the value of our merit-based system and ensures that dedicated, eligible officers within our ranks, many of whom are minority and women candidates, have their opportunities for advancement protected.”

Union Counsel Charles J. Sciarra criticized the city’s initial position, saying, “The Union is pleased that the Commission has rejected the city’s bizarre and contradictory positions in their effort to cancel the test.”

The JC Police SOA views the Commission’s decision as a reaffirmation of civil service’s core principles – merit, fitness, and fairness. The Union leadership has pledged to support its members in pursuing career growth and will continue to champion a transparent, merit-based promotion system.

Wojtowicz and Friend were installed as union leaders for the JC SOA in April 2023. They promised their membership to challenge the administration’s attempt to opt out of the promotional exam process and to fight for overall promotional fairness. This ruling marks a significant step in delivering on that commitment.

For more information, see the full Commission written decision attached to this press release.