CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) - A police training sergeant caught up in a testing mistake has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
The Civil Service Commission in Cedar Park cleared Sgt. Cathy Bustos after she accidently gave candidates for detective corporal and sergeant actual promotions test questions as study samples last December.
But the results of tests conducted in that period will now be put aside and replacement tests will be staged in the near future. Cedar Park's recently appointed Chief Sean Mannix said the department as a whole is looking forward to getting those positions filled.
That exam process took place in mid-December, and involved 18 Cedar Park police officers. The city received three complaints about the integrity of the testing process. Some officers told commissioners wanted the results upheld saying they had studied long and hard for the test.
An independent review was conducted in January to help guide commissioners after an initial hearing January 9th.
At the time, Bustos appeared before the commission and said, "It was my mistake. I did it. And I would hate to see people punished for my mistake. I had no idea it (the sample question list) was the same thing (as on the real test)."
Of Bustos, Mannix told KXAN: "(She) was very honest from the start and accepted responsibility for her actions. And while I'm still reviewing the finer aspects of the independent investigation that was conducted, I don't anticipate any further internal affairs investigation."
Bustos told commissioners she offered the sample test questions to lessen the anxiety associated with what she called a new promotional process for the department. "I only intended to help. I never intended to hurt anybody or for us to spend any money or to be before you here today," she said in January.
At a special meeting March 20 commissioners took issue with the fact the city human resources director was not in control of the exam source material and tests. As well, a statutory 90-day period where the source material was to be available to candidates was not met, they concluded.
Future police promotions tests in Cedar Park will be handled directly through the city's human resources department which is located in a different building than the police department.
Commission Chair Barbara Boulware Wells said, "Somewhere along the way, something broke. Something seriously broke."
She added, "And we as a commission, by taking this action have stepped back into the process to make sure that the fairness that you asked the city to implement in civil service is reinstated and assured to every officer who is taking an exam."
Mannix agreed the decision is part of the department's evolution. "We won't even have access to the test, you know so there can't be an accidental leak or anything like that, Mannix said. "Organizationally it's the best solution."
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