A Grand Coulee Civil Service Commission meeting Monday night turned out to be anything but civil.
Commission President Alan Cain and police Officer Sean Cook got into a shouting match over issues that Cook raised before commission members.
The civil service commission is an independent board that interviews and makes recommendations on police personnel.
Cook said he wasn’t there representing the police department, but as a private citizen and veteran.
Initially, Cook challenged the commission for ordering him out of the January meeting, telling him it was a private meeting. Cook said Commissioner Ken Carroll escorted him out but then changed his mind and allowed him back in.
A dispute ensued over what Cook said were references made about his family, and that got a quick rebuttal from Cain.
The larger issue was that commissioners failed to grant points for veterans applying for a vacant police position that is currently in the process of being filled.
Cook cited references from the Civil Service’s own manual and Washington state law that veterans must receive either a 5- or 10-percent point boost added to their testing score — 5 percent for veterans not serving overseas in a war zone and 10 percent for those who had.
“Whoa,” Cain said, “you are trying to lay down a hostile environment for our meeting.”
Cook replied that commission members had committed a misdemeanor and engaged in deceptive practices in not giving veterans preference points in their final scores.
Cain said Cook was really “pissing me off.”
Cook replied, are you “cursing at me?”
Cook cited references from the Civil Service’s own manual and Washington state law. that veterans should receive either a 5- or 10-percent point boost added to their testing score — 5 percent for veterans not serving overseas in a war zone and 10 percent for those who had.
He called it a “bad oversight,” when commission Secretary Kathy Carroll said she hadn’t known to do that.
When asked why he was bringing the issue up, Cook replied, “Because I am a veteran.”
Commissioner Mark Graves acknowledged that the commission had erred in not granting veteran preference points, but he said it was unintentional. All three commissioners are new at their positions and this was the first major action they had taken. They were each appointed by Mayor Chris Christopherson last summer.
The commissioners moved the three applications of those with the highest written and oral test scores on to Police Chief Mel Hunt for his selection. Hunt said Tuesday that he has tentatively selected one of the three candidates and will make an offer when that person completes a final test Feb. 14.
Secretary Carroll stated that even if the veteran points had been given, it wouldn’t have changed the order of preference.
Commissioners stated that while they had read their manual, the veterans issue didn’t jump out for them.