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Vulcan Pioneers Inc. v. New Jersey Department of Civil Service

argued: August 7, 1987.

VULCAN PIONEERS, INC., WILLIAM THOMAS, JOSEPH HEAD, CHARLES LIGE, ERNEST SMITH, BENJAMIN JOSEPHS, RONALD HEATH
v.
THE NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE, RALPH P. SHAW, CHIEF EXAMINER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE; THE NEW JERSEY CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, S. HOWARD WOODSON, PRESIDENT OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION; THOMAS DELUCA, JOHN HOLDEN, MATTIAS RODRIQUEZ AND CHARLES WALTHER, COMMISSIONERS OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMM., THE CITY OF NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, JOHN P. CAULFIELD, DIRECTOR OF THE NEWARK FIRE DEPT. JEFFREY WASHINGTON, CLEVELAND DAVIS, ALAN BORES, MARTIN K. MCMAHON, ROSCOE CAMP, ROBERT M. MCLINTOCK, GARY J. OTTOLAINE, MARC C. SHAW, ALBERT J. JABLONSKI, PETER GRIESE, MICHAEL J. MANZO, PATRICK M. GIACOMO, GEORGE S. BOREK, TOM B. FITZGERALD, KEVIN J. BARAN, STEPHEN A. DRENNAN, JR., TOM P. VERDON, RAYMOND GIL, JOSEPH F. HADFIELD, ROBERT M. BALD, VICTOR R. PETRUCELLI, BERNIE NORDQUIST, THOMAS P. ZIMMERMAN, EDWARD F. BRAJCZEWSKI, KEVIN MAYER, RICHARD D. FELDHAN, GEORGE H. BUENO, LOUIS G. LEGREGIN, DONALD F. O'BRIEN, MARTIN W. SCHADE, PATRICK G. DELPIANO, MARK CIASTON, DOMINICK BUSCIO, MICHAEL M. RUBINO, DARREN E. RIVERS, ROBERT G. BENTIVEGNA, THOMAS P. JULIAN, MICHAEL P. SUCHDOLSKI, ANTHONY DELLA ROSA, RONALD T. WALSH, EUGENE W. HALLIGAN, DAVID J. CARROLL, RAMON RAMASEUR, WAYNE C. MCCARTHY, JOSE GIANCASPRO, JR., ROBERT E. SCHAU, JR., RICHARD G. MACARTHUR, THOMAS E. LANDRY, CHARLES E. LIND, GARY CONTI, DARREN ROBINSON, JAMES STEWART PLAINTIFFS-INTERVENORS; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. STATE OF NEW JERSEY, ET AL. V. ROBERT M. SHERIDAN, ROBERT J. FALCO, ALBERT K. BENZ, HARRY J. DONEMAN, THOMAS F. MOLTA, MICHAEL SANSEVERE, FRANK GUZMAN, LLOYD S. ALCON, DANIEL A. CUNNING, FRED A. STANKIEWICZ, JR., ANTON C. PESKENS, CHRISTOPHER L. LYONS, ALFONSO J. TARTAGLIA, ROARY M. MILLER, JAMES LUGO, NICHOLAS CARBONARO, WILLIAM J. LEMONIE, WILLIAM G. VITALE, ALBERTO MUNOZ, DOMINICK CICALA, JOSEF F. HAAS, INTERVENORS; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. STATE OF NEW JERSEY; RALPH P. SHAW, CHIEF EXAMINER AND SECRETARY, NEW JERSEY STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION; CITY OF ATLANTIC; CITY OF CAMDEN; CITY OF EAST ORANGE; CITY OF ELIZABETH; CITY OF HOBOKEN; CITY OF JERSEY CITY; CITY OF NEW BRUNSWICK; CITY OF NEWARK; CITY OF PASSAIC; CITY OF PATERSON; CITY OF PLAINFIELD; AND CITY OF TRENTON, MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS; NEWARK FIREMEN'S BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION, LOCAL NO. 4 (INTERVENOR), N.J. STATE FIREMEN'S MUTUAL BENEVOLENT ASSOC. INTERVENOR; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND JAMES W. STEWART-INTERVENOR V. STATE OF NEW JERSEY; JOSEPH M. RYAN, CHIEF EXAMINER AND SECRETARY, NEW JERSEY STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION; CITY OF ATLANTIC CITY; CITY OF CAMDEN; CITY OF HOBOKEN; CITY OF JERSEY CITY; CITY OF NEW BRUNSWICK; CITY OF NEWARK; CITY OF PASSAIC; CITY OF PATERSON; CITY OF PLAINFIELD; AND CITY OF TRENTON, MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS; NEWMARK FIREMEN'S UNION (INTERVENING DEFENDANT) AND JERSEY CITY FIRE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION, LOCAL 1064, I.A.F.F., AFL-CIO INTERVENORS; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. STATE OF NEW JERSEY; RALPH P. SHAW, CHIEF EXAMINER AND SECRETARY, NEW JERSEY STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION; CITY OF ATLANTIC; CITY OF CAMDEN; CITY OF EAST ORANGE; CITY OF ELIZABETH; CITY OF HOBOKEN; CITY OF JERSEY CITY; CITY OF NEW BRUNSWICK; CITY OF NEWARK; CITY OF PASSAIC; CITY OF PATERSON; CITY OF PLAINFIELD; AND CITY OF TRENTON, MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS; NEWARK FIREMEN'S BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION, LOCAL NO. 4 (INTERVENOR) N.J. STATE FIREMEN MUTUAL BENEVOLENT ASSOC. INTERVENOR; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. STATE OF NEW JERSEY, ET AL. V. HOBOKEN FIRE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION LOCAL 1076, I.A.F.F., AFL-CIO INTERVENORS; STATE OF NEW JERSEY, APPELLANT IN NO. 86-5928 INTERVENOR, THE HOBOKEN FIRE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION, LOCAL 1076, I.A.F.F., AFL-CIO, APPELLANTS IN NO. 86-5929



On Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Nos. D.C. Civil No. 950-73, D.C. Civil No. 77-2054, D.C. Civil No. 79-184.

Seitz, Mansmann, and Greenberg, Circuit Judges.

Author: Seitz

Opinion OF THE COURT

SEITZ, Circuit Judge.

The State of New Jersey appeals the judgment of the district court invalidating the State Civil Service test for promotions to the rank of fire captain*fn1 for fire departments and the subsequent order of the court that the eligibility lists based on the results of this test could not be used for any purpose. The Hoboken Fire Association, Local 1076 (Local 1076) appeals the district court's rejection of its proposed plan for interim relief. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1291 (1982).

I.

At issue in this case is whether the test administered by the New Jersey Department of Civil Service (Department) to rank candidates for promotions to the position of fire captain in twelve New Jersey cities satisfies the requirements of the consent decree entered into by the various parties to this litigation.

On October 4, 1977, the United States filed suit against the State of New Jersey, an official of the New Jersey State Civil Service Commission, and twelve municipalities alleging that the defendants were engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of race and national origin with respect to hiring and promotion in the fire departments of the respective municipalities.*fn2 The parties entered into a consent decree on May 30, 1980, which was approved by the district court. This decree did not contain a finding of discrimination but did obligate the State defendants "to undertake affirmative action to increase substantially the proportion of black and Hispanic personnel on their respective fire departments" and to "review the composition of the current selection process for appointments to ranks above the level of firefighter to ensure job relatedness and with the goal of eliminating adverse impact on black and Hispanic applicants in accordance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Guidelines issued thereunder." Under the decree, the State defendants were required to conduct job analyses of all promotional classifications "in a manner consistent with the Uniform Guidelines of Employee Selection Procedures, 28 C.F.R. 50.14, and other professionally accepted standards . . . ." The United States was granted the right to object to any selection process it found to have the purpose or effect of discrimination against minority applicants and, if necessary, to move for resolution in the district court.

Pursuant to the decree, the Department conducted job analyses of the fire captain position. A written, multiple-choice examination based on these analyses was developed. On seven occasions from June 1981 through June 1984, the State administered this test for the defendant municipalities to firefighters who satisfied the eligibility requirement to three years of service. Applicants who scored above the minimum cut-off were ranked on the eligibility list according to their final average score, which was calculated based on their score, which was calculated based on their score on the written test (80%) and on their seniority and service record (20%). When a municipality requested candidates for promotion, the state certified the number of individuals equal to the number of vacancies plus two, in rank order based on the final average scores. The municipality could promote any of the certified candidates, with certain exceptions not at issue here.

In March 1983, the United States raised objections to the test, alleging that the results exhibited adverse impact under the four-fifths rule of the Uniform Guidelines.*fn3 In May 1984, after informal efforts to resolve its objections had failed, the United States filed a motion seeking an order from the district court enforcing the consent decree by enjoining the use of promotional lists generated by these tests and by requiring the use in the future of a test that is job related or that has no adverse impact. After trial, the court entered a judgment for the United States and urged the parties to reach an agreement concerning a manner for utilizing the existing lists pending the development of new lists generated from a valid test. Vulcan Pioneers, Inc. v. New Jersey Dep't of Civil Serv., 625 F. Supp. 527 (D.N.J. 1985).

The parties, however, were unable to agree on an interim course of action, and various proposals were submitted to the district court. After a hearing, the court rejected all the proposals and instead enjoined the use of the existing promotional lists and ordered each municipality to continue rotating acting captains in lieu of making either provisional or permanent appointments. United States v. State of New Jersey, 658 F. Supp. 9 (D.N.J. 1986).

These appeals followed.

II.

This action involves a motion by the United States for the enforcement of a consent decree. While a consent decree "must further the objectives of the law upon which the complaint was based, . . . the parties' consent animates the legal force of a consent decree." Local Number 93, Int'l Ass'n of Firefighters v. City of Cleveland, 478 U.S. 501, 106 S. Ct. 3063, 3077, 92 L. Ed. 2d 405 (1986) (citations omitted). Thus, we must examine ...


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