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Boardman sergeant asks court to order trustees to promote him

Published: Sat, July 24, 2010 @ 12:05 a.m.




A Boardman police sergeant who says he’s entitled to be promoted to lieutenant has asked the 7th District Court of Appeals to direct the township trustees to promote him to that rank with back pay dating to May 19.

On Thursday, Sgt. Jack Cochran filed his petition for a writ of mandamus, in which he also asked the court to bar the trustees from making permanent the May 19 promotions of Stephen J. Riwniak and Edward R. McDonnell from sergeant to lieutenant.

Cochran, who was hired as a patrolman in July 1997 and promoted to sergeant in June 2007, was the top scorer on the civil-service exam given for lieutenant Dec. 11, 2008.

Based on his score of 109.6, Cochran was placed on a two-year civil-service-eligibility list for promotion to lieutenant that will expire Jan. 21, 2011.

After promoting two lieutenants to captain, the three trustees unanimously selected McDonnell, who scored second at 107.5, and Riwniak, who scored fourth at 100.6 on the exam, for the lieutenant positions.

The township has the ability, based on state law, to choose from the top-three candidates from the civil-service test, said Jason Loree, township administrator.

When one candidate is chosen, then the township chooses out of the top three again, meaning the person who originally scored fourth on the test would become the third top scorer, Loree said.

Riwniak was hired in 1990 and McDonnell in 1996, and both became sergeants in 2002. Both are within their 180-day probationary periods as lieutenants.

In 2004, the township made a $500,000 settlement of a civil lawsuit by the estate of Steven Memmer, who was killed when a cruiser that Cochran was driving hit Memmer’s car broadside Feb. 1, 2001.

Memmer, 21, turned his car into the driveway of his Southern Boulevard apartment as Cochran tried to pass him from behind at 76 mph en route to a burglary call.

A Mahoning County grand jury cleared Cochran of any criminal wrongdoing in February 2001, but Memmer’s family filed the civil lawsuit a month later, saying the township’s police pursuit-and-response policy failed to set safety rules or properly train officers.

Under the township’s latest police-union contract, the sergeant vacancies left by the promotions of Riwniak and McDonnell won’t be filled.


1apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Aren't contracts a PITA when they work against you? Sounds like sour grapes. I thought seniority trumped all including test results?

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2Millie(192 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

What has happened to the Boardman Township Love Fest that is being played over and over again on the school channel? All 3 trustees cannot dislike Cochran or feel he is not qualified at the same time but a 3-0 vote says it must be true. Why have rules?

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3BobS(1 comment)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

This is a great example of politicians doing the EXACT OPPOSITE of what they are supposed to do. Boardman is a Civil Service Twp. Under State law Civil Service gives a test then provides a list to the Twp on who scored the highest and so on. State law also says the first person you promote is the name at the top of the list. The whole purpose of agreeing to be Civil Service in Ohio is to remove political "pressures" from the promotion process, and basically let a third party decide who gets the job.

These politicians are probably trying to use some old ambigious law to promote somebody's pal as a favor instead of who they should. Chapter 124 of the ORC is pretty clear on how Civil Service should work. I wonder if they read the section that says if you do not follow the Commissions list you can be removed from political office ????

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4sknirak(120 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

If I'd gotten top score on that test and I didn't get the promotion...bet your life I'd have gotten the best attorney available and gone after the politicians.

BobS is right on the money. They should be removed from office, for sure.

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5target145(18 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

.The Trustees, the city of Boardman, Berarducci, fellow officers know why this person did not get promoted. His unlawful misconduct like the.2001 car crash killing a man .One most recent chasing down two unarmed men for blowing their horn at him while off duty, Stopping them in the street, pulling his gun, pointing it at them and telling them he was going to kill them all from 30 feet away. Then using another police department to help him claim self defense to save his own skin. Look it up !Someone needs to investigate this officers actions on duty and off...so things like this don't happen again to anyone

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6TedWain(1 comment)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

I dont comment on posts... But target145 made me laugh.

First, what does a car crash this person was cleared of have anything to do with a promotion?

Secondly, If he did what you said. (Which is a serious crime) How is he still a police officer??

I dont member hearing aything about such a story.

Your probably one of those people where nothing is your fault always someone else is to blame... Or your a politician.. Haha couldnt resist the close comparison.

Either way, you sound like someone who exaggerates a lot or was maybe arrested by him and has a grudge?!?!

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7CRNA09(2 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Target, I believe Ted hit the nail on the head when he stated that you are a person who deems that nothing is your fault and you go around crying wolf against innocent people.

Anyone who has an education understands that the news is biased. You cannot believe the things you read. Has anyone ever taken a research course? Look up the word bias in the dictionary.

Cochran is right to pursue legal action. He sounds like he deserves the promotion from his combination of years of service and his top score. And no past accident or event has anything to do with the lawsuit that is occurring right now.

I don't blame the guy... "you mess with the bull, you get the horns." I hope he is able to put these crooked politicians at bay, even if it is a "career ender" as one of you said.

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8CRNA09(2 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

This is factual... Berarducci is not the chief of Boardman anymore, Target... what in the world does he have to do with anything? He was a whole other story of political disaster, favoritism, and bias in Boardman.

Target, why don't you go contribute something good to society instead of running your mouth making false testaments.

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9Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Is he black?????

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10Mahcntyvoter(30 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Target, that sounds like a story the vindy would have had all over the paper if it was actually true. I think you have a personal problem with this officer. I am sure he asked the trustees why he wasn't promoted. And if they did not have a valid answer then yes I can see going forward with an attorney seeking the promotion that is deserved. I only know one of the officers that was promoted. He is a nice guy but probably not my first choice if I had to promote. The other officer I have no clue who he even is. Lived in Boardman my whole life and don't know of him, heard of him or ever met him. Now that is public service at its best.

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11seminole(476 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

The entire township is a joke, people! If you were not born here then you don't "fit in" and you aren't accepted. Based on the jacka--es that live here that is fine with me, but it's the good ol' boy" network. How else can you explain re-electing a trustee that was in play when the financials started going to he--? A teacher that does his taxes in his classroom during class time? Nepitism at it's finest...

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12Hank13(2 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

"I dont comment on posts..." (Ted Wain).

Well, you just did.

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13target145(18 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

The unlawful misconduct with this officer pulling his gun on two unarmed men is TRUE...look it up in the courts...
The freedom of information act...
anyone can Look it up...on their pc
can you say cover up

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14target145(18 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

So, here we are years later, and who knew what was going on all along, Target145. This jack. Off lost his job because of his actions with his GUN.
Wounder if he could fight his way out of a paper bag without shooting his way out. Most police arriving to the force only take two classes,, like with magnison before he died , and they think their ready for the streets. If anything comes from these messages, I would say.." Train our officers more than two times before you give them in a car"
and stop Superman sindrome

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