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Rescinding Idaho Falls’ civil service rules could affect lawsuit against IFPD

Idaho Fall’s civil service rules are a hot topic. The city wants to get rid of them because other laws on the books cover its bases. But because of the lawsuit against the Idaho Falls Police Department, some are wondering if getting rid of civil service will affect the lawsuit.

Several IFPD officers claimed Chief Mark McBride violated civil service rules when it came to department promotions. So what is a civil service rule?

“It’s used to put some objectivity in hiring in promotional practices for government employees. But it was prior to a lot of the nondiscrimination laws and civil rights laws that have been implemented in the last 50 or so years,” answered Idaho Falls Human Resources director, Ryan Tew.

The City of Idaho Falls’ specific civil system, “Spells out the processes for hiring and promotions and grievances. And things of that nature. The protections that are given in the civil service guidelines have long since been replaced,” said Tew.

“I think if you notice around the country, police departments and other departments are moving away from civil service, because civil service, although it has been helpful, is historically something that is no longer necessary,” said Idaho Falls City Attorney, Randy Fife.

The city felt that since new state and federal laws have been in place — it was time to get rid of the full civil service system. That led to the system being called to question in a recent city council meeting.

“We are trying to rescind the entire civil service system for the police department, specifically — well, for the city overall, but it specifically applies to the police department,” said Tew.

Due to the state code in Idaho, rescinding the system has to be considered and read three times — before it goes into effect. If the approval does finalize, this could potentially affect the lawsuit against the IFPD. But Fife doesn’t think it will.

“We have argued to the court that we do not think that it does. I think that when cases are filed, typically, they keep the status that they had when the case was filed,” said Fife.

In the last City Council meeting, the item to rescind the civil service rules passed on its first reading. So, it will come up again in next week’s meeting for consideration on its second reading. If it passes the third consideration, it will go into affect.

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