Baltimore Fire Dept. Abandons Hiring Procedures

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore City Fire Department has abandoned hiring procedures established in 2004 that were designed to make the department more diverse, the WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team has discovered.

"One of our biggest problems is not getting people on the eligible list, it's getting people to continue on the process," Clack said.

Clack explained that the wait to be called can be months, saying people lose interest and it gets more difficult to contact them.

Burris said he doesn't think the city's trying hard enough.

"Chief Clack, in the year 2008, gave me a list of 40 individuals (who) apparently (were) on a list of a test, and he said those 40 individuals could not be contacted. I had no problem (reaching them)," Burris said.

Burris said he tried reaching the first seven people on the list and reached them all.

Clack said he also blames city budget woes for the passive recruiting effort, saying there's no sense in pursuing cadets if you can't hire them any time soon.

Perhaps coincidentally, the Fire Department started developing a new recruitment strategy since the 11 News I-Team started asking questions, Collins said. A committee of 34 people -- including firefighters, paramedics and civilians -- will brainstorm ideas and audit results.

"What we want to do is be continuous, go all the way into the elementary schools, the middle schools, the high schools, and put the thought of being a firefighter or paramedic in their minds at an early age so they look at it as a career choice," Baltimore City Deputy Fire Chief Lloyd Carter said.

When asked why such an effort couldn't have been done earlier, Clack said, "It could have been. It could have been I done earlier. It just wasn't. I don't know why."

The Fire Department has yet to establish a recruitment strategy, but Fire Department officials described their efforts as a work in progress.

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