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Thread: Cleveland Fire Dept., Fire exam, July 31st, 2010

  1. #301
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    All very true, BUT.... Remember to stay positive, don't count yourselves out because of a not so perfect past. Integreity is most important in all of this....FYI a candidates honesty today can hold a bit more weight, then the fact they may have made a mistake (being non-violent, non felonious) 10 years ago... Good luck to all...

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    With interviews now one week away, does anyone have any useful information to contribute on what to expect or on the process altogether?

    Happy St. Patty's Day!
    Last edited by FIREJAWZ; 03-17-2011 at 01:51 PM.

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    I knew coming in that the residency points were going to make this list a bit ridiculous. "Should I wear a suit to a job interview?" I don't want to single you guys out that are wondering that, but I have to say that if you don't know the answer to that question then you are evidence of why there shouldn't be any residency points. Whats even more disappointing is that a lack of professionalism probably won't hurt you at all. Only in Cleveland.

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    So yeah anything useful?

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    heard they mailed out just over a hundred appointment letters.
    for those of you who got that letter, we had to return stuff to civil service, there was a fire and a police table, spoke to a buddy of mine, he is on the police list, and he heard they were gonna start someitme in july.

    also spoke to a FF buddy of mine, he said they are trying to rush a class of 50 before this lawsuit stuff settles with this haeden decree stuff. here is an update on the cases pending in cleveland about the list.

    The Vanguard appeal to the Federal District Court ruling terminating the Headen Decree (Affirmative Action) on entrance testing was heard on Thursday morning at 11am in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. Members of Cleveland Firefighters for Fair Hiring drove down to Cincinnati to attend the hearing and also pick up our Attorney who flew in from Buffalo to represent us. The Hearing was the final oral argument to the Appeal case, the Court will now consider the briefs and arguments and issue a final ruling on the Appeal.
    The Vanguard Attorney spoke first, followed by the City of Cleveland Attorney. Neither Attorney made a compelling argument, and we believe that nothing they argued did anything to help their position at all. Our Attorney spoke last, and raised some issues with how the City and Vanguard waited until the last minute to ask for an extension to the case, and he also cited the New Haven case as cause for upholding the District Court ruling.
    At this time, it’s very difficult to discern how the Court will rule on the case, as it appeared to send out "mixed signals". The Judges floated out the possibility of more "mediation", but they also commented along the lines that this case has gone on for a very long time, and that if the case is terminated then someone else could file a new lawsuit in the future if they so desire. For anyone who has ever attended Court hearings/proceedings, it’s often very difficult to figure out exactly what the court is thinking. Appeals court is a 3 Judge panel, and all we need is for 2 Judges to uphold the District Court ruling. The worst thing that could happen would be for the Appeals court to overturn the District court ruling and re-institute the Headen Decree. Based on all of the briefs submitted, and the oral arguments, we believe that there is very, very, little chance of this happening. The Court could also rule for further mediation/possible compromise, or kick the case back down to the District Judge for further ruling. Lastly, the court could also rule to uphold the District court. We believe that the last two options are most likely to occur, and we are cautiously optimistic that we will get a favorable ruling (an outright ruling in our favor) from the court. It’s estimated that the Court will issue a ruling sometime within 30-90 days. On the MLK suit, there is no major update to report at this time. The case is continuing to work its way through the legal system with no timetable at present for any ruling. Legal proceedings progress at a snails pace, and the best example of this is our case which is now into its 13th year (the MLK case is different and will not take numerous years to play out).


    here is some backround legal jargon regarding the termination of the headen decree

    OHIO: RACE DISCRIMINATION – CITY OF CLEVELAND AND ITS FD HAVE SHOW GOOD FAITH IN SEEKING 33 1/3% MINORITY GOAL - CONSENT-DECREES FROM 1977 AND 1984 ARE TERMINATED BY FEDERAL DISTRICT JUDGE strong>

    On August 20, 2009, in Cleveland Fire Fighters For Fair Hiring Practices, et al v. City of Cleveland, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74221, U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent terminated the consent decree, based on the good faith efforts to date and assurances by the City of Cleveland that they will continue to seek to meet the goal of 33 1/3% minority firefighters.

    The Court described the progress made by the city since the first lawsuit was filed on April 3, 1973:

    "In the 1970s, when the Consent Decree was first put into place, blacks accounted for a mere 4% of the firefighters in the City's Fire Department, but consisted of 40% of the population living in the City. The evidence presented in this matter before the two District Court Judges preceding the undersigned District Court Judge reflected that the hiring practices and statistical disparities of the 1970s caused a near total absence of opportunity for minorities in the City's Fire Department. Hence, at that time, the Consent Decree was implemented as a temporary measure, designed to remedy the then-present and past discrimination. This nation, and the City of Cleveland, have come a long way since then."

    In 1975, Federal Judge Krupanky found that the city had unlawfully discriminated against minorities for the FD, and he issued the following order in Headen v. City of Cleveland, No. C73-330 (N.D. Ohio Apr. 25, 1975):

    "NOW IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT:

    The Defendants and each of them, their agents, employees and all persons in action, concert or participation with them shall refrain from appointing any new firefighters to the Cleveland Fire Department until such time as there is presented to this Court, and approved by this Court:

    1. An entrance examination which is demonstrably job-related in a manner consistent with EEOC Guidelines on Employment Selection Procedures;
    2. A plan for the concentrated recruitment of minority candidates to take such examination, and all subsequent examinations;
    3. A method whereby residents of the City of Cleveland shall be awarded bonus points for their residency on all future examinations in the same manner as is presently being done for the Cleveland Police Department;
    4. Revised screening procedures (background, psychological, psychiatric, etc.) such as are job-related, objective and non-discriminatory, to be utilized as part of all future entrance examinations for the Fire Department.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that following the development of, and approval by the Court of a new entrance examination, that all subsequent examinations shall be demonstrably job-related in a manner consistent with the EEOC Guidelines on Employment Selection Procedures."

    In 1997, the city and the plaintiffs then entered into a Consent Decree in 1977, and an Amended Consent Decree in 1984: each Consent Decree had a goal of 33 1/3% minority firefighters.

    In September, 2008 the city filed a motion for an extension of time until 2014 to reach this 33 1/3% goal. It advised the court of a "perfect storm" of events beyond its control, including the DROP retirement program:

    "The factors cited by the City include:

    * November 1998: Fire entrance examination held.
    * September 1999: The 1999 fire eligibility list established.
    * September 2000: Court orders the 1999 Fire eligibility list "reconstituted" and orders that the Headen ratio for hiring be one minority for every two Caucasians hired. Court also extends Fire eligibility list until September 2002.
    * October 2000: Fire eligibility list reconstituted as ordered by the Court.
    * October 2000: 74 cadets assigned to the Fire Training Academy.
    * February 2001: 57 cadets assigned to the Fire Training Academy.
    * November 2001: Prospective candidates offered conditional letters of appointment to participate in the Fire Training Academy. However, no Fire Training Academy was held.
    * September 2002: The 1999 Fire eligibility list expired.
    * October 2002: 52 Prospective candidates notified that, despite expiration of eligibility list, the prior conditional offer of employment preserves their opportunity for consideration in the next Fire Training Academy under the holding of FOP v. City of Cleveland.
    * 2003: The Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund establishes the DROP program for members of Police and Fire Departments who are eligible to retire. The DROP program allows Police and Firefighters who continue to work to have the equivalent of their retirement benefits paid into a special account that can later be withdrawn in installments or a lump sum. The program requires a minimum three year commitment and is limited to eight years. The net effect is that Police and Firefighters eligible to retire are given a powerful incentive to remain working. As of June 30th of this year, 211 Cleveland Firefighters (all eligible to retire) are participating in the DROP program.
    * January 2004: 70 Firefighters (all hired from the 1999 eligibility list) are laid-off due to severe budget crises. Division of Fire is reorganized reducing the strength of the division from 976 to 906 members.
    * January 2004 to April 2007: All Firefighters requesting return from lay-off are re-hired to fill vacancies in the Division of Fire.
    * March 2008 to September 2008: Division of Fire meets with Public Safety and Civil Service to establish Fire Training Academy for the 2001 candidates and to plan for a 2009 Fire entrance exam to establish the second eligibility list. Letters are sent in May 2008 to the 2001 candidates to determine their interest in attending the next Fire Training Academy.

    The trial judge concludes that the Consent Decree should be terminated:

    "The history of this case makes clear that past injustices indeed existed in the City of Cleveland with respect to the hiring of minority firefighters. However, the Court has found that the City has made a good faith effort to comply with the remedy designed to right those wrongs. The evidence demonstrates that it was not the City's lack of effort, but rather circumstances beyond its control, that resulted in it falling short of satisfying the goals in the Second Amended Consent Decree. Based upon the evidence relating to the pending Motions, the Court finds that judicial monitoring is no longer a necessity.

    Although some may argue that, absent Court intervention, the City may revert back to the practices that gave rise to the original Consent Decree many years ago, there exists nothing in the record to suggest discriminatory practices will resume. A review of the City's good faith effort to comply with the Second Amended Consent Decree reflects that the City currently has in place a foundation that will lead to increased minority representation in the Fire Department once the economy allows for a more routine hiring process to resume. Using a bona fide job-related examination that is nondiscriminatory and continuing with its minority recruitment efforts, qualified minority candidates will have continued success in the hiring process, and the Court is confident that diversity within the Fire Department will continue.

    In addition, while these Consent Decrees did not quite meet the arbitrary goals set by the parties, they certainly created a framework that allows the City to establish a hiring procedure and process that is nondiscriminatory and fair to ALL applicants -- thereby assuring the citizens of Cleveland that the most qualified applicants are selected, and assuring each candidate that he or she will be selected on the basis of merit, rather than on a judicially-sanctioned race-based formula.

    Based upon the foregoing, the City's Motion for Extension of Time to Comply with the Headen Decree (ECF # 44) and the Vanguard's Motion to Extend the Terms of the Second Amended Consent Decree (ECF # 45) are DENIED.

    III. CONCLUSION

    For the reasons cited herein, the City's Motion for Extension of Time to Comply with the Headen Decree (ECF # 44) and the Vanguard's Motion to Extend the Terms of the Second Amended Consent Decree (ECF # 45) are DENIED. This case is TERMINATED."

    Legal Lessons Learned: The city’s good faith compliance with the Consent Decree has carried great weight.

  6. #306
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    @johnsmith1989: so when you say that Cleveland wants to rush in a fire class before the Headen decree case settles, do you mean that they intend to put on a class within the next 30 to 90 days (this is time frame you gave for the circuit court's pending decision)?

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    @FIREJAWZ dude, i doubt it, considering the promo is in may, and who knows the money situaiton in ctown. idk its all up in the air. we might hear something new later this week tho.

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    Good luck to the applicants who have interviews tomorrow. I'd be interested in hearing any feedback about your interview experience.

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    Anyone have their interview yet?

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    with 'interviews' that went well, and our appts next week, which AC did you guys sit down and chat with?

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsmith1989 View Post
    with 'interviews' that went well, and our appts next week, which AC did you guys sit down and chat with?
    I interviewed with Asst Chief O'Toole. Everything went well, I suppose. He explained the hiring process and provided an approximate timeframe for fire academy. We then discussed the information in my background questionaire. I had nothing to hide and it appeared that any potential issues were readily addressed to his satisfaction.

    Although I wasn't sure what to expect, I have to say that I didn't expect this type of "interview" format. I figured we would sit before a panel and be questioned about "what would you do if you saw your fellow firefighter steal" or something like that.

    Did anyone else have similar or different experience?

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    Default BMI Test

    I was told during my interview that the medical assessment will include a cholesterol check, blood pressure check, and BMI test. While checking cholesterol and blood pressure makes sense to me, I have concerns about the BMI. Anyone familiar with the BMI test knows that it is unrealistically rigid (most NFL wide receivers and defensive backs would be considered borderline obese according to the BMI). The major problem with the BMI is that it does not account for individuals who are lean, yet muscular.

    In my case, I am 29 years old, 6'0 tall, and a very fit and muscular 190 lbs (34 inch waist and 45 inch chest). However, the BMI says that I am overweight. This is of course is BS, as I am nearly as fit as I was during college when I played football. My BP is 120/76 and my resting heart rate is 66. With all the attention on cardiovascular disease among firefighters, I can understand why fire departments are focusing on cardiovascular health. But this BMI business might eliminate people who are MOST fit for the job.

    Does anyone have information on the medical test and whether the BMI scale will be strictly followed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by zarack808 View Post
    I was told during my interview that the medical assessment will include a cholesterol check, blood pressure check, and BMI test. While checking cholesterol and blood pressure makes sense to me, I have concerns about the BMI. Anyone familiar with the BMI test knows that it is unrealistically rigid (most NFL wide receivers and defensive backs would be considered borderline obese according to the BMI). The major problem with the BMI is that it does not account for individuals who are lean, yet muscular.

    In my case, I am 29 years old, 6'0 tall, and a very fit and muscular 190 lbs (34 inch waist and 45 inch chest). However, the BMI says that I am overweight. This is of course is BS, as I am nearly as fit as I was during college when I played football. My BP is 120/76 and my resting heart rate is 66. With all the attention on cardiovascular disease among firefighters, I can understand why fire departments are focusing on cardiovascular health. But this BMI business might eliminate people who are MOST fit for the job.

    Does anyone have information on the medical test and whether the BMI scale will be strictly followed?
    No info for you, but I have to believe they are not going to filter out based on being slightly in the overweight zone. Have you measured your body fat? If you're at or under 20%, I'd have to think you're OK. Now if you're obese, that could be an issue.

    You and I are almost completely the same on paper, if it makes you feel better to have company in your "overweight" status. I'm around 18% body fat, which is not my lowest, but I also don't run in winter like I do when it warms up. I'm literally a pound overweight by BMI standards. Of course if I was 0% bodyfat (impossible), I'd fall into the normal category still. So it is imperfect. Buy a cheap bioelectric body fat scale if you obsess about your body like I do, measure yourself in the morning after a non-workout day, 30 minutes after drinking a big glass of ice cold water, and after a shower. You'll get some pretty accurate numbers. I bought my scale for under $20 online, and you can customize your height and age and everything.

    Or if you still worry, lace up and burn off 6lbs! And mix in some HIIT/tabata to keep the fat burn going.

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    so what and when are the next steps in the process?
    anyone know how many ppl had interviews and what they are planning to do?

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    Default bmi

    Are you serious on asking this? They are not going to rule you out if you are physically fit for the job, do some research on the topic on civil service testing. If you are in shape yet fall into the overweight category you will not be disquailified. Most places the cut off is 30 anyways. An average person who is fit and works out regulary will fall into the 20-25 catergory and professional bodybuilders will be higher than that. Aside from the number the Dr doing the test can over rule it and give the ok...Between that question and if you should wear a suit or not to the interview along with all the other questions, god only knows how some of you ranked where you did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF0055 View Post
    Are you serious on asking this? They are not going to rule you out if you are physically fit for the job, do some research on the topic on civil service testing. If you are in shape yet fall into the overweight category you will not be disquailified. Most places the cut off is 30 anyways. An average person who is fit and works out regulary will fall into the 20-25 catergory and professional bodybuilders will be higher than that. Aside from the number the Dr doing the test can over rule it and give the ok...Between that question and if you should wear a suit or not to the interview along with all the other questions, god only knows how some of you ranked where you did.
    First, the info you provided was helpful - and could have been given without the condescending insults

    Second, I did research this topic but I did not find a lot of information on how fire departments in the midwest address the BMI issue. As a matter of fact, I did come across a fire department that appears to follow a strict interpretation of the BMI scale. I was not sure what to conclude, so I chose to pose the question on a firefighting discussion board dedicated to various issues related to the hiring process. Yeah, I see your point now. That was so stupid of me! What was I thinking?

    Third, the issue of BMI is still hotly debated in the medical arena, so why would I make any assumptions on how it will be addressed for hiring purposes? It's not like major fire departments have always used BMI as part of the hiring process. This is a relatively new practice and a first for Cleveland.

    Fourth, I have come to discover that just because something "makes sense" or seems "obvious" does not mean that city officials and civil service departments see things the same way. If you are at all familiar with the city of Cleveland, then you would know that many decisions are not based on common sense - but rather politics, cost, and expediency.

    Lastly, if you can't distinguish between someone asking about wearing a suit to an interview versus an inquiry about body mass index assessments in the medical exam, then that might explain why you haven't ranked so high on the eligibility list.
    Last edited by zarack808; 04-03-2011 at 10:01 PM.

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    Default bmi

    I ranked just fine on the list, so my position on it in compairison to others has no bearing on my post. I have been viewing this forum for months and have been reading just total nonsense coming from people and couldnt keep quiet anymore. I get your concern and yes I may have been a bit harsh so I appologize, but you have to think alittle realistic, a phyiscally demanding job especially big city will not rule out someone who is physically fit to take a skinny bean pole who fits in the BMI index and cannot hold their on the line or using the equipment and tools. Good luck on the rest of the hiring process.


    Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul

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    johnsmith1989, I understand they had 100 background interviews to do, followed by fingerprinting for the BCI check. They are looking to put on a class of 50 sometime late June or early July, depending on of course many things, and subject to change as things always are. Medical check and psych tests are to follow before conditional offers. These are facts.

    On a side note, I know is half the people I saw at the interviews were not wearing a suit. So for such an easy answer, half got it wrong, proving once again common sense is not common. I come to forums for opinions, not facts, those can be hard to find.

    Some cities won't hire smokers nowadays, so to believe they wouldn't hire overweight people (whatever that is defined as) is not that big of a jump anymore. That's an opinion.

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    I hope they boot all of the fatties. I also hope that individuals not wearing a suit or at least a tie were laughed at and sent packing. This whole process of holding the hands of cleveland residents and wiping their butts every step of the way is a joke.

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    Default bmi X 2

    Being physically over weight and being over weight based upon a bmi are two different things. If you were to take my bmi of 25 it would read as overweight, however anyone who works out regularly and stays in shape knows that the number means nothing once the doctor sees you (anyone who looks at you really). Its a bit different than smoking considering one is in a truly healthy physical state (maybe not on paper based on your height weight and wasit circum.) And the other of smoking you are not healthy regardless of how fit you may claim to be, the body is being broken down and serves as many issues for the city to deal with later on as you being an employer. I mean take someone who is truly overweight from genitics,diet or laziness with a bmi of 25, someone who is at a 25 bmi based on working out or someone at a bmi of 18 lets say who is a 2 pack a day smoker and tell me what makes more sense to hire.

    I respect you on coming on these for opinions and not facts but some of these comments about "well known sources" and " my sisters boyfriends uncles nephew works there and said" has been 16 pages of great comedy

    And call me crazy but for any professional job, its standard etiquette to wear a suit and tie, its all about first impression. To the employer the first 60 seconds ( you can go as far as 30 seconds) tells alot of what they need to know about you based on apperance, this job especially is about pride, if you cant take pride in yourself and apperance how can you on the job and for the city.... and boom goes the dynamite

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    anyone know when this medical or psych stuff is supposed to start?
    yes at the interview an academy this year of 50 then next year either 50 or they will process 25 more and make it an academy of 75.

    heard a lot of ppl didnt make it thru backgrounds

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsmith1989 View Post
    heard a lot of ppl didnt make it thru backgrounds
    Are you referring to the interview or the fingerprinting? Did the Chiefs tell people during the interview that they were disqualified? How did candidates find out?

    As for the medical and psych, I was told 4 to 6 weeks from the time of the interview. We'll see though.

    I'm confident that the City is going to put through up to two classes this year. My source told me that the Fire Dept wanted to have a class in academy already, but the delay was due to the promo exam coming in May. Apparently, study time leading up to promo exams is very sacred and is not to be interrupted. It would be unfair to have instructors teaching academy and thus unable to prepare themselves for the promotional exam while everyone else has free time. Once the exam is over, I expect the City to be full steam ahead with processing the list for academy.

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    yea hopefully man, well some of my buddies are studying for the promo, but they havent given the date of the exam, which kind of stinks because those guys studying dont have a date to work back from. and i think there might be a rule about promo exams that a date of the exam is to be announced at least three months before the test, so i think those guys have a while before they fill in the scantron sheets for the promo.


    also, a diff buddy is going thru the instructor course to teach at the academy, and he has no idea when things will be pushed thru.

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    I have become annoyed with the city's apparent reluctance to publish information about what to expect throughout the hiring process. Just as a source for comparison, I have posted info for the Columbus, Ohio firefighter exam (see below). You will see that Columbus has a testing process that is detailed, organized, and planned out in advance. Conversely, it seems that the folks in Cleveland don't know what's happening from one week to the next. Which begs the question:

    WHY CAN'T CLEVELAND BE THIS ORGANIZED??? It's rather simple. Create a plan, then organize and execute. Instead, it seems like Cleveland is flying by the seat of its pants with the testing and hiring process. No one seems to know what the next phases are and when they will be carried out. It's like the city goes out of its way to complicate the process and keep people guessing. As candidates we realize that this is a long process. However, all we want going forward is pertinent information about what to expect in the hiring process and some sort of time line - even if it's an approximate time line. If there are any Cleveland officials or CFD members on this forum, please take a page from Columbus and be more organized and transparent. SEE BELOW


    Columbus, Ohio Firefighter Examination
    Important Dates
    EVENT
    DATE
    Study Guide available online now!
    November 2010
    Accepting Applications for Firefighter
    Applications accepted online only @ www.csc.columbus.gov However, you may apply online in our office at
    750 Piedmont Road, Columbus, Ohio 43224.
    March 10–April 10, 2011
    Information Sessions
    **Optional**
    Each Information session provides the same information; therefore candidates do not need to attend multiple sessions.
    April 19, 21, 25, and 27 at 6:00p.m.
    Saturday, April 23 10:00a.m. or 2:00p.m.
    Specific examination and physical practice dates will be assigned to each candidate
    See study guide for detailed information regarding each phase of the exam
    Phase I: The Multiple Choice Exam
    May 2011
    Physical practice dates
    July 2011
    Phase II: Physical Exam and Phase III: FOAM Exam
    August 2011
    Veteran’s Preference Documentation Due
    August 31, 2011
    Eligible List Established*
    November 2011
    *ONLY Candidates successful on ALL THREE phases of the Firefighter Examination will be eligible to become a Columbus Firefighter.
    NOTE: Fire Training Academy Classes beginning in 2011 will be filled with candidates from the 2006 Firefighter Eligible List. This exam will create a 2011 Firefighter Eligible List and will be used to fill fire academy classes in 2012 and 2013.
    Last edited by FIREJAWZ; 04-06-2011 at 09:50 AM.

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    I agree with you man. I took Nashville, TN test and it was just as disorganized as CFD's. Granted NFD had 4,500 people sign up to take th physical and then 3 days of 2,200 for the written and 1,300 interviews it was still a big mess. No communitcation and no one knew what was next or what was going on.
    Firefighter, EMT-P, CICP, EMSI, HazMat Tech

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