Tuesday, March 25, 2014

LAFD Immediate Changes To Los Angeles Fire Department’s Firefighter Hiring Process #CaFire

Interim Fire Chief James G. Featherstone has issued the following statement regarding immediate changes to the Los Angeles Fire Department’s firefighter hiring process:

"Mayor Garcetti charged me with, and I am committed to, enacting meaningful and structural reform within the Los Angeles Fire Department. Accordingly, I have been working with the Mayor's Office to review the recruitment and training process, and our work revealed the existence of at least two interview and resume preparation workshops organized by a member of the LAFD. These workshops were advertised via LAFD email and were intended to be limited to members of the LAFD Cadet Program and family of LAFD members.

While these actions may have been conceived in good faith, the result was a recruiting and hiring process that was less than fair and impartial.

Our Professional Standards Division has opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the workshops, and we will have no further comment on personnel issues during the course of the investigation.

The current hiring eligibility list will be allowed to expire and the LAFD will not begin any additional recruit training classes using this list.

This is not a decision that was undertaken lightly. However, I believe it is in the best interest of the LAFD that we recruit, hire and train eligible candidates through a transparent and fair process.

While we will continue to have an urgent need to fill our existing vacant positions, it is vital that we update and improve our hiring and recruiting process to give Angelenos the fire department they expect and deserve.

I am confident that the 3,300 sworn men and women firefighters of the LAFD will continue serving our City with the excellence and dedication that they display every day.

We have engaged the RAND Corporation, a non-profit research organization, to conduct an expedient and multi-phase review of the LAFD hiring process in order to recommend ways to improve our hiring policies and practices.

The recommendations will be aimed at providing an equal opportunity of being hired to all qualified applicants for the position of firefighter and RAND will suggest methods that can be implemented to improve the demographic diversity of future LAFD recruits.

The first phase will last approximately three months, during which time RAND will review our current hiring practices. RAND’s findings will inform the City about the fairness and effectiveness of the current process. If necessary, RAND will provide alternative courses of action to manage the pool of applicants who seek firefighter positions, as well as provide recommendations to update and revise the current process, including the written test and oral interview portion of the examination process.

The second phase will take approximately one year and will involve continuous improvements in the new process, including recruiting methods and the selection of new firefighters.

The RAND Corp. has extensive experience in public safety and military recruiting and personnel retention issues. In 2009, RAND published the results of its project to assist the Los Angeles Police Department with its hiring process."

A link to that report can be found at: www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG881.html


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