QUENTON BURNER AND ERIN GIBBONS, Petitioners Below, Petitioners
MARTINSBURG POLICE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, Respondent Below, Respondent
Submitted: March 6, 2019
from the Circuit Court of Berkeley County The Honorable
Christopher C. Wilkes, Judge Civil Action Nos. 17-AA-1 AND
Christian K. Riddell Stedman & Riddell, PLLC Martinsburg,
West Virginia Attorney for Petitioners
Hill Allison M. Subacz CIPRIANI & WERNER P.C. Charleston,
West Virginia Attorneys for Respondent
JUSTICE ARMSTEAD, deeming himself disqualified, did not
participate in the decision of this case.
PAUL T. FARRELL, sitting by temporary assignment.
JUSTICE WALKER concurs and reserves the right to file a
BY THE COURT
"The provisions of the police civil service act, W.Va.
Code §§ 8-14-6-24, which provide for the
appointment, promotion, reduction, removal and reinstatement
of all municipal police officers and other employees of paid
police departments of Class I and Class II municipal
corporations, are not exclusive. . . . The police civil
service act, rather, excludes the enactment of only those
measures which are inconsistent with the express provisions
of the act." Syllabus point 2, in part, Morgan v.
City of Wheeling, 205 W.Va. 34, 516 S.E.2d 48 (1999).
"'The judgment of a circuit court affirming a final
order of a police civil service commission, upon appeal
therefrom as provided by statute, will not be reversed by
this Court unless the final order of the commission was
against the clear preponderance of the evidence or was based
upon a mistake of law.' Syl. pt. 2, In re Appeal of
Prezkop, 154 W.Va. 759, 179 S.E.2d 331 (1971)."
Syllabus point 3, Bays v. Police Civil Service Commission
of Charleston, 178 W.Va. 756, 364 S.E.2d 547 (1987).
Burner and Erin Gibbons (collectively
"Petitioners") herein appeal from the October 3,
2017 order of the Circuit Court of Berkeley County denying
Petitioners' appeal and petition for writ of mandamus,
and affirming the final order issued by the Martinsburg
Police Civil Service Commission ("Commission").
Petitioners challenge the circuit court's holding that
the Commission's awarding points to a candidate on
competitive examination for promotion based on education
credentials did not violate the requirements of the Police
Civil Service Act set forth in West Virginia Code
§§ 8-14-6 to 8-14-24 (LexisNexis 2017). Having
considered the briefs submitted on appeal, the appendix
record, the parties' oral arguments, and the applicable
legal authority, we find no error. Accordingly, we affirm the
circuit court's final order.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
December 10, 2016, Corporal Quenton Burner ("Cpl.
Burner") and PFC Erin Gibbons ("PFC Gibbons"),
both of the Martinsburg Police Department, sat for
competitive examinations for promotions to Sergeant and
Corporal, respectively. Under Rule VII, Section 2 of the
Martinsburg Police Commission's Rules and Regulations,
[a]pplicants for promotion shall be graded on a scale of a
maximum of one-hundred (100) points. This shall consist of a
maximum of fifty (50) points for the written examination, a
maximum of forty (40) points for the personnel file review
and a maximum of ten (10) points shall be based on seniority.
regard to the Personnel File Review, the maximum forty (40)
points available for review of the applicant's personnel
file are given as follows:
a) Efficiency Rating - A maximum of ten (10) points
shall be awarded for review of efficiency rating. The Chief
of Police shall submit to the Commission an efficiency rating
on each candidate scheduled to take the oral interview.
Efficiency ratings may be based on the following:
absenteeism, accident rating, character and conduct,
attitude, personal appearance, ability to work under pressure
and on dangerous assignments, ability to meet and deal with
others, ability to organize work, knowledge of duties, laws,
ordinances and rules applicable to his/her work, accuracy and
attention to pertinent details, emotional stability,
leadership and promoting high morale.
b) Education - A maximum of ten (10) points shall be
awarded based on the following:
• 10 points - Post graduate degree from an accredited
college or university
•8 points - Bachelor's degree from an accredited
college or university
•6 points - 3 years college completed at an accredited