This post was also written by Scott E. Blissman.
Over the past few weeks, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell signed a series of bills into law (Acts 76, 77, 78, 91 and 92) that amended the civil service provisions of the First Class Township Code, Borough Code and Third Class City Code (as well as the civil service provisions applicable to towns). All of these amendments are effective immediately and require municipal civil service commissions to revise their civil service rules to ensure compliance before a new hiring or promotional testing cycle has been initiated for police officers and paid firefighters.
Each of these new civil service amendments specifies that appointments and promotions made prior to the effective date of each act are unaffected by the new legislation. However, the viability of any current eligibility list for future hirings and promotions, as well as the propriety of completing hiring or promotional screening that has already commenced rather than starting over after adoption of the amendments, should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The critical question is whether the existing civil service rules used in creating the current eligibility list or used for initiating the new hiring or promotional process incorporate the new mandatory provisions. Specifically, do the municipality’s current civil service rules require a physical agility test as well as a medical and psychological examination after issuance of a conditional offer of employment? If the answer is yes, then the municipality may well be able to continue with its current process and make selections from an existing eligibility list. If the answer is no, then the municipality will need to incorporate the amendments into its civil service rules and restart the process under the newly adopted rules.