July 09--The Los Angeles Fire Department resumed hiring on Tuesday to fill vacancies within the department, even as the Rand Corp. is finishing a report that recommends changes to avoid earlier problems with the hiring process.
Mayor Eric Garcetti instructed the department to begin the process to fill the next academy class. "Hiring additional firefighters is key to reducing response times and keeping our city safe," Garcetti spokesman Yusef Robb said. "Mayor Garcetti has directed that steps be taken to ensure that an LAFD recruit class will begin in December.This new process will continue to be assessed as we look ahead to filling additional classes this fiscal year. Improvements in the process so far have been made through the collaborative efforts of the mayor's office, LAFD, the Personnel Department and Rand, which has informed our reforms as their report is being finalized."
RAND has said it hopes to finish its first draft this month and will monitor changes over the next several years. The hiring process for the last class was criticized because of a high number of recruits hired who had relatives already in LAFD and because many applications were shut out of the online application process shortly after it opened.
Robb said changes include a random sampling procedure and an improved role for Fire Chief James Featherstone to exercise discretion in the choice of final candidates.
LAFD spokesman Peter Sanders said the process will be closely monitored to prevent similar problems.
"In the interest of filling the LAFD's existing firefighter vacancies, at the Mayor's direction, we are moving forward with an improved process to hire firefighters for the next academy class," he said. "Both the recruiting and hiring processes will continually be evaluated and adjusted as we move forward in our hiring efforts."
A bulletin announcing the hiring was posted on Tuesday, but still must be approved by the Civil Service Commission.
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