Former Part-Time Harmony Township Police Officer Alleges Racism & Cronyism

racist

A former part-time office with the Harmony Township Police Department is alleging he was passed over for a full-time position with the town because of his ethnicity. The officer also alleges the town violated civil service laws last year during the hiring process to fill a full-time position in the department.

Officer Sokheng “Jason” Seng resigned from the Harmony Township Police Department last September after the town hired a man from outside of the department to fill the open spot.

Seng subsequently filed a charge of discrimination against Harmony Township with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Officer Seng alleges he was frequently harassed due to his race during his time employed with Harmony Township.

“During the time I worked at the department it was stated to me by officers the reason why there were less strays in the area was because of me,” wrote Seng in a report obtained by the Beaver Countian. “That comment implied I had eaten most of the dogs and cats. I went along with the jokes about my race because I wanted the full-time position.”

Jason Seng has also alleged the town violated Pennsylvania Civil Service laws by misapplying veteran’s preference points to help officers pass a written examination.

“The written examination was given by the Civil Service Commission of Harmony Township for the positions of full-time officers. Before the test was given, Chief Essek stood in front of the room and announced that veteran points would be added after the oral interviews. Essek stated that test score would need to be a 70 percent or higher to pass,” wrote Officer Seng in the report. “Essek stated that 10 percent of the veteran’s overall score would be added to the veteran’s score. Essek made it clear that the veterans who failed would not have their veteran points added to their score.”

Officer Seng alleges the town didn’t follow its own Civil Service procedures.

“Each veteran was given 10 percent of their test score after the written examination,” wrote Seng. “Civil service regulation states that veteran points are added to the final score of both the oral interview and the written test. On the list was Alan Loskosh, who is a veteran. Loskosh had a score of 75, which meant that his score before the veteran points were added was a 68.”

Ultimately, Officer Seng alleges he was told he was not hired because he did poorly during the oral examination portion of the civil service test compared to applicant Brian Brooks, who was not employed with the department at the time. Harmony Township hired Brooks as a full-time officer, and Seng alleges he was told Alan Loskosh would be chosen for a second full-time position that was expected to be filled at a later date.

Seng’s name was in the top 3 of the eligibility list with Loskosh’s name in the fourth spot.

Officer Seng resigned from the department after learning he would not be hired as a full-time officer.

Seng reported to the EEOC that he was originally hired by Chief Jack Lively who retired before the full-time position became available. “Since Essek became Chief the position that I was more qualified for is now going to a less qualified individual,” wrote Officer Seng.

Officials with Harmony Township have filed statements with the EEOC denying Seng was passed over due to his ethnicity. The town insists the officer wasn’t hired full-time primarily because he did poorly on his oral interview.

Officer Seng had been working part-time for Harmony Township for approximately a year and a half.

Courthouse sources tell the Beaver Countian that Officer Seng has also approached attorneys in the area about the possibility of taking legal action against Harmony Township for their alleged violation of civil service procedures.

See Also: Op-Ed: The Plight Of A Part-Time Police Officer

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Reader Comments:


Profile photo of Raven
Member
11 months 5 days ago

I started to crunch the numbers, and that is funny enough. Actually, 68 plus 2 Brownie Points for 70 to pass plus 10% is 77. Loskosh was obviously robbed and should appeal. On the more lenient McKee Scale, a 68 would be a spotted +50, or, 118. But, gee, with such rigorous standards, how can anyone be hired? Obviously, those making the force must be geniuses. And an Asian scores low on a standardized test? That one goes into the Guiness Book of World Records. Test bias? No. People bias? Say it ain’t so.

Guest
SpeakTheTruthToo
11 months 5 days ago

I agree. An Asian that scores low on a standardized test……no way!

Profile photo of eddiemerchant
Member
11 months 5 days ago

Normally Raven there’s little to quarrel with in your posts as to accuracy, but I believe that the reason given for officer Seng not being hired had to do with his performance in the oral interview, not the standardized written test.

I don’t have a dog in this fight (oh geez, just realized how that reads) but think a better argument can be made that even with standardized civil service tests, the possibility of bias exists with grading of oral interviews, particularly when these commissions are made up of citizen volunteers within the community.

A number of communities haved hired professional companies to administer the civil service tests and interviews. From what I understand the fees are quite reasonable, and because it’s people who do this for a living and have no personal stake in the outcome, these types of complaints are non existant.

Profile photo of Raven
Member
11 months 4 days ago

It would be interesting to see a sample examination copy. Perhaps a link to one online. There must be study guides and samples for test preparation. Perhaps the test data was mishandled by Harmony Township, and perhaps he could not do well on the oral exam., but it would be helpful to have details.The assumption is that English is a second language of his. Also, is the test so hard that even veterans have a difficult time passing it? The only proof so far is that the numbers don’t add up.

Guest
accordingtome
11 months 5 days ago

Sorry….I want officers patrolling the streets who are bright enough to pass a simple civil service test without needing to be given 10 points in order to achieve a passing score. I don’t care what your ethnicity, current employment status, etc…..anybody who can’t score at least a 70 on the test shouldn’t be sent out on the streets with a gun in order to enforce the law.

Profile photo of Raven
Member
11 months 5 days ago

@eddiemerchant: Sure, I agree with you. My post was tongue-in-cheek. The racial bias is serious, and he should be qualified for hiring, but the games being played with the evaluations makes me smile. It is so obviously trumped up and transparently phony.

Guest
11 months 5 days ago

Go get’em!

Guest
Quip 27
11 months 4 days ago

All that you say is so true Seng.
I know, I lived it.
Keep your head because you have true friends

Guest
Homeboy
11 months 4 days ago

This is what happens with civil service. Friends are asked to be on the interview board l, so the chief or supervisors are able to stear the interview board to the candidate they want hired. This happens almost every time someone is about to be hired or promoted in every Harmony Townships in the U.S!

Guest
PattyWagonII
11 months 4 days ago

MASTRAMICO FOR FULL TIME!!!

Guest
Meatball
11 months 3 days ago

HAHA good one!!! Next time make sure I have the boat still!!!

Guest
Mastrameatball
11 months 2 days ago

Within rrrrreeeaaaasssssoonnnnn, rrrriiiigggghhhtttttt.

Guest
76wita95
11 months 4 days ago

NO DOUBT it happens and sometimes you got a guy that been a 10 years and scores perfect, but then someone comes in with military points finishes in top 3 but
Lower they have to hire that person and I dont think that’s right.

Also if you got a guy that scores solid and knows the streets and job , but some kid at 23 with no experience scores higher because he just completed academy, they cry politics when the oral interview they score lower and get passed ive seen both sides..

To put the debate to rest and it’s simple most departments don’t even have the civil service requirements.

I say three parts, basic test, MAJORITY of those elected pick and final the chief of department decide.

Profile photo of buzzkill
Member
11 months 3 days ago

Note point d.

HOW IS VETERANS’ PREFERENCE APPLIED TO CIVIL SERVICE TESTS?

a. Veterans, qualified widows and widowers of veterans and spouses of disabled veterans who pass civil service appointment tests, receive ten points added to their final score. They must pass the test before points are awarded.

b. Applicants who take a civil service examination BEFORE being honorably discharged from their military service commitment will never be entitled to receive an additional ten points added to that test score. However, upon completing their commitment and being honorably discharged, they will immediately become eligible for preference as a veteran. If such applicants thereafter retest or take other examinations successfully, they will receive both the ten additional points and preference.

c. Applicants entitled to veterans’ preference who are among the top three available candidates on certifications have mandatory preference in appointment over non-veterans.

d. Applicants entitled to veterans’ preference on a civil service list may be appointed regardless of their rank on the list.

Guest
Daedalus
11 months 2 days ago

Okay. Here’s how this works, for those of you who have never gone through the civil service process with a small town in Western Pennsylvania. First you take a written test, so that the town can ostensibly claim that the best, brightest, most qualified person is getting the job. After the written test scores are looked over by town officials, you go for the oral interview. The purpose of the oral interview in most towns is to completely nullify or bypass the written test results so that the local good ol’ boy, who happens to be the mayor’s nephew but also a complete idiot, winds up with a higher combined score than applicants much smarter and more qualified than him. They will fudge those interview scores any way they have to to hire who they want to. I’ve sat down for an interview and watched someone on the panel fill my score sheet with zeroes before the interview had even begun. It rarely fails that the people who score first, second or third on the written test wind up sixth, seventh or eighth after the interview, and applicants scoring sixth, seventh and eighth after the written test magically wind up at the top. It’s a ridiculous sham just about anywhere in this area, although some of the departments in Beaver County elevate it to a high art form and don’t even TRY to hide it.