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  1. #1
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    Default Chicago Entrance Exam - for those who asked

    Lawsuit prompts exam upgrade
    City plans pass-fail entrance test for firefighter candidates

    By Gary Washburn
    Tribune staff reporter
    Published October 27, 2005


    After losing a lawsuit charging racial discrimination in the scoring of Chicago's last firefighter entrance examination, the Daley administration announced Wednesday that a new exam to be given next year will be pass/fail.

    Applicants who pass will be selected at random to report for physical agility testing, an interview and a background check before selection to attend the Quinn Fire Academy, said Fire Commissioner Cortez Trotter.

    Trotter said the new approach will be fair, even if some candidates who ultimately are hired may have scores lower than some who are not.

    "What is the difference between very good and better?" he asked. "Is there that much marginal difference? I doubt it. ... I think we are headed in the right direction."

    Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th), chairman of the City Council's Police and Fire Committee and a proponent of more minority hiring in a department that for years has been mostly white, agreed.

    "I think it is a fair way to go," he said. "I think that if [one] person gets a 90 and [another] person got a 100, it does not necessarily mean the one who got 100 is going to be a better firefighter than the one who got 90."

    But John Chwarzynski, president of Local 2 of the Chicago Fire Fighters Union, disagreed.

    "We have examinations to determine excellence," he said. "You get a guy who runs [a race] in 4.4 seconds and a guy who runs it in 4.6, they are very close. But who is the better athlete?

    "You take the bar exam or you take a college examination and you miss it by two points, you are still very close to the guy who passed it, but is it marginal enough?"

    Under the city's last firefighter test, given in 1995, candidates who scored 89 or better were deemed "well-qualified" and were hired before others who passed but had lower scores. The "well qualified" group was overwhelmingly white.

    Last March, U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall ruled in favor of African-American applicants who took the exam, ending a seven-year legal battle.

    Gottschall called the 89-point cutoff "meaningless" and said the test "could not distinguish between those who were qualified for the position [of firefighter] and those who were not."

    Gottschall has yet to rule on possible monetary damages for the more than 6,000 plaintiffs in the class-action suit.

    Of Chicago's 5,077 firefighters, 3,423 are white, 1,022 African-American, 533 Hispanic and the remainder Asian or American Indian.

    "We want to make sure we have the best-qualified set of candidates, and also the most diverse set of candidates," Mayor Richard Daley said Wednesday at a news conference at the fire academy.

    "It's a great job for a young man or woman who's bright, courageous and wants to help other people," he said. "There are other jobs that are easier that pay more money, but there aren't many jobs where you can save people's lives."

    Firefighter jobs are highly coveted. Starting salary is $40,000 a year, with a raise after six months, and benefits that include continuing education and reimbursement for college tuition. Because firefighters work a schedule of 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off, many supplement their income with second jobs.

    The Fire Department currently continues to hire from the 1995 list. The average age of the remaining candidates is almost 38.

    After the new test is given next spring, Trotter said the department plans to administer subsequent exams about every three years.

    Promotional exams also will be given at regular intervals, he said.

    "We think it is wonderful," Chwarzynski said of the increased frequency of exams. "We applaud the mayor."

    Daley acknowledged that some candidates from the 1995 list who have not yet been hired may sue the city over the new test.

    ----------

    gwashburn@tribune.com





    Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune


  2. #2
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    Sorry to hear about the new hiring method. Wonder how many white guys will get hired following this new method? I could be wrong and I hope I am, but I have a feeling the CFD will get quite a few ****ty candidates during the upcoming years. BTW, didn't see it in this article, but what's the passing score got to be? Like 65% or something?

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber Golzy12's Avatar
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    I wonder how random the selection will actually be????? That could be grounds for a law suit right there if the diversity of the people asked to go onto the physical doesnt corespond to population of the citys diversity someones gonna sue.

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    Default Equal opportunity...

    What a bunch of crap. Once again some desk jockey has to f#$@ things up.

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    We want the best and the brightest...and we don't want anyone or any group to be left out... simply because there was no new test in sight and they choose another profession instead of making the Chicago Fire Department their first career choice



    i hope the mayor and the city will standby this statment....I sucks when a non-minority has to score in the let's say 100-150 and then they go well well below that number so the city can get the RIGHT "people" in the department. Look at all the problems they have had in the past.... for you ohio guys look what happened in cleveland...

    Does any one know where to get chi-towns annual report on-line

  6. #6
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    How does this work if a guy uses his veterans points? Might as well **** em away.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber Golzy12's Avatar
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    Vet points will probably help you pass the written test but it doesnt sound like it will help you any after that step.

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    are there residency requirements prior to taking the test?
    FF/NREMT-B

    FTM-PTB!!

    Brass does not equal brains.

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to control it.

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber Golzy12's Avatar
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    As far as Ive heard ( on other threads on firehouse) there are no residency requirements, but you will be required to live in the city when you are hired

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfd4life
    are there residency requirements prior to taking the test?
    No residency until the day you start the academy.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF
    No residency until the day you start the academy.
    how do I apply to test?
    FF/NREMT-B

    FTM-PTB!!

    Brass does not equal brains.

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to control it.

  12. #12
    Forum Member FHandz15's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Require paramedic and a college degree to apply, instead of 20,000 applicants you will get 500. You have to have a clean record and be somewhat intelligent to have a medic license, and somewhat self-motivated to spend 4 years in college (nobody makes you go and YOU have to pay!!). Make them pass a basic agility and mental test and you are good as gold mama!

    Man, hiring people from a pool that are already "clean", self motivated and ready to provide a high level of EMS from day one....what a concept.

    No butt boys, no clout.

    How bout' dem' Blackhawks, Habby is killing my fantasy team.
    Last edited by FHandz15; 10-29-2005 at 03:08 PM.

  13. #13
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    Paramedic and a college degree...well..guess I'm out..
    FF/NREMT-B

    FTM-PTB!!

    Brass does not equal brains.

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to control it.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber Golzy12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FHandz15
    Require paramedic and a college degree to apply, instead of 20,000 applicants you will get 500. You have to have a clean record and be somewhat intelligent to have a medic license, and somewhat self-motivated to spend 4 years in college (nobody makes you go and YOU have to pay!!). Make them pass a basic agility and mental test and you are good as gold mama!

    Man, hiring people from a pool that are already "clean", self motivated and ready to provide a high level of EMS from day one....what a concept.

    No butt boys, no clout.

    How bout' dem' Blackhawks, Habby is killing my fantasy team.
    Yea then you wouldn't even be able to fill the vacant spots on the department because your standards are too high, whats good for the college grad whos a medic isn't always good for the department.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfd4life
    Paramedic and a college degree...well..guess I'm out..
    Hell, if they required that, 90% of the dept would be out! (me included - Im not even an EMT!)

    No word yet on test date or proceedure for signing up for the test. I'll post more when I hear. I think you just have to be 19 - 35, HS diploma, and clean record.

  16. #16
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    We're having the same issues here.

    What is happening here is not only are they manipulating the hiring process, but in our current contract negotiations that looks like it will pass, they are going to start assessment centers for ranks of driver and LT.

    Our promotion system has been based on a very competitive testing system. Lots of studying with a max of 10 points for longevity.

    If you lower the testing standards for entry you have issues later with promotions.

    Another point to consider is that there will surely be a discrimination based suit against the city if they are not absolutely objective in their ancillary requirements for entry.

    PERPETUAL LAWSUITS!

    Wonder what the taxpayers would think about it if they understood the impact on their pocket books.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF
    Hell, if they required that, 90% of the dept would be out! (me included - Im not even an EMT!)

    No word yet on test date or proceedure for signing up for the test. I'll post more when I hear. I think you just have to be 19 - 35, HS diploma, and clean record.
    Ah, nifty..keep us updated..
    FF/NREMT-B

    FTM-PTB!!

    Brass does not equal brains.

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to control it.

  18. #18
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    Exclamation Say No!

    Say No to discrimination! Say yes to handing jobs to the less qualified! Discrimination what does that word mean nowadays?

    Affirmative Action = Discrimination

    Don't like what I say? Oh well, I'll get over it, why don't you!

  19. #19
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    Thumbs up

    Oh I forgot to ask is the next thing we are going to see tests given in different languages?

    Gotta be fair!

  20. #20
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FHandz15
    Require paramedic and a college degree to apply,
    How bout' dem' Blackhawks, Habby is killing my fantasy team.

    Ummm, no. It has been my experiance that the thoses that come on the job with college degees dont make very good FFs. Sorry, its just what Ive seen.


    We miss Habby here in Tampa. NOT!
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

    IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

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    RUSH-Tom Sawyer

    Success is when skill meets opportunity
    Failure is when fantasy meets reality

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