Texas Applicants to Retake Exam After Alleged Leak

More than 2,500 Austin firefighter candidates will have to undergo oral exams for a second time after allegations were made that the questions were leaked, according to The American-Statesman.

Earlier this week, Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr and other city officials received a letter from an anonymous author claiming the questions had been passed among applicants and included a copy of the official test questions and grading criteria.

Officials worked late Wednesday to confirm the authenticity of the documents and decided by Thursday afternoon that the previous scores would have to be thrown out.

"Obviously I am disappointed, and an incident like this brings discredit on the whole Fire Department," Kerr said at a press conference. "From start to finish, efforts were made to maintain the integrity of the documents as securely as we believed they needed to be. We plan to take additional extraordinary steps to ensure this doesn't happen again."

The president of Austin's firefighter union, Bob Nicks, spoke out following the announcement.

"This is indicative of a sloppy, unprofessionally run process," he said. "We have been critical of the process from the very beginning."

The chief said she did not know when the test would be given again, but that it could cost the city close to $10,000.

Applicants outside of Austin will have to return to the city at their own expense and were sent emails Thursday.

The department is seeking to hire about 100 firefighters for a class slated to start this summer.

A team of police investigators is looking into the exam might have been leaked. The test is considered a government document and tampering with it is considered a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to 180 days in jail.

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