Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News file)

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News file)

Kelowna RCMP promotion process tainted with bias: federal judge

An officer was passed over for a promotion in 2015

A Federal Court judge has ruled the Kelowna RCMP showed bias in denying a local Mountie a promotion in 2015.

Cpl. Scott Podmoroff applied for a promotion to sergeant but didn’t receive it.

He filed a grievance on Dec. 29, 2015.

Initially, Podmoroff alleged in his grievance that the successful candidate wasn’t right for the position because Podmoroff had more experience and skill.

“He further alleged that the rationale provided by the officer was not meaningful and that attributes in the rationale were not identified as desirable in the job description,” stated the decision filed on May 11.

Documents also showed that Podmoroff found out the successful candidate received help from two senior officers, contrary to RCMP policy.

“Later, (Podmoroff) discovered that one of the senior officers who gave the assistance to the successful candidate was involved in the selection process.”

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During that time, Brent Mundle was still an inspector at the detachment before he took over as the superintendent in 2016.

He was tasked with selecting and ranking the candidates, asking Staff Sgt. Jordan to assist him. Jordan reviewed the candidates’ competency examples, ranked them, and submitted those rankings.

The RCMP’s grievance process agreed the selection process was flawed because Jordan, an officer who provided feedback on a candidate’s application package, was part of the selection process, which wasn’t appropriate.

In an initial review of the grievance, the adjudicator found “a real likelihood or probability of bias during the selection state of this staffing action” and that Jordan should have recused himself from the process.

The adjudicator ordered that Podmoroff’s application be compared against the successful applicant by a third-party assessor.

If successful, the plan was to promote Podmoroff to a similar position but he refused this remedy, filing a grievance with a final level adjudicator.

According to the decision, Podmoroff claimed the fact the successful candidate received help with their application and the officer who helped them was part of the selection process amounts to cheating.

Judge Glennys McVeigh said there is evidence to support finding bias.

“(Jordan’s) assistance with selecting examples of competencies which was then later evaluated by himself taints the entire selection process,” she said in the decision.

“Given the tainting in the promotional process at the assistance point and at the selection point, I find that the remedy is unreasonable.”

McVeigh said the appropriate thing to do is send the grievance back to be predetermined by a third-party decision-maker outside of the Kelowna detachment and outside of the E Division.

It was also determined that Podmoroff must be paid $2,500 in legal costs.

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