It has almost been a full month since the day Richmond Police officers were scheduled to be promoted. Still, dozens are in a holding pattern. They're waiting to find out about the future of their careers, but we're told the list is still at city hall, not the police chief's office.
That hold-up isn't just a waste of officers' time, right now; it is also causing a waste of city taxpayer dollars. NBC12 filed a Freedom of Information Act request and learned the cost of the assessment process is almost $70,000. That figure is just to pay the company hired for testing.
Again Thursday, the Richmond Police Department said it still has not received approval from the mayor's office on a list of promotions it sent for review.
There is confusion.
When NBC12 contacted a spokesperson for Mayor Dwight Jones, she said: "The review is a personnel matter and we don't comment on personnel related matters. However, I believe that the promotions ceremony will be scheduled soon."
We went back to police with that information and still a spokesperson there said there is no update. As far as they know, the list has not been approved and that means they cannot schedule a ceremony.
That leaves the officers and at least $68,000 in limbo. The Richmond Coalition of Police says the rank and file want to know what their departments will look like post-promotions. At a time when a pay freeze has been in effect for four years, representatives maintain morale is already low.
"It's a huge life changing moment for them," RCOP President Stacy Rogers said. "Whether they're going to be promoted to sergeant or lieutenant or captain, they're ready to move on with the next step of their career."
We learned consultants Morris and McDaniel Management, Inc. worked on the assessment at RPD from November of last year through May. For almost six months, they held meetings, written tests, oral exams and interviews. They narrowed down a list that was sent to city hall in early June.
The coalition adds it has talked to officers who've been in Richmond for more than twenty years and never seen a promotions process take this long. Sources say the hold-up is politically motivated because of the tension between the mayor and Police Chief Bryan Norwood.
We asked spokesperson Tammy Hawley about the motivation behind the holdup. She did not respond to that portion of our email. All of our questions were directed to an RPD spokesman.
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