Promotion process is an activity that is conducted in a given frequency in order that individuals in the fire department will qualify for promotion and allow taking of the testing for these individuals. Most of the fire departments require that before an individual is promoted in the rank do an exam. Most of the professional fires fighting departments require professional qualifications like a bachelor’s degree.
In order to qualify for a promotional process in the fire department, one may require to have been employed in a good length of time, training and certification to the subjects related to the fire fighting, and educational requirements. Such eligibility is communicated for example prior to the date of the beginning of the promotion process. Usually, the evaluation procedures will also be published and the scores communicated.
The written examination and subjective evaluation are administered for a particular rank the promotion process includes administration of the examination and the evaluation, and posting of the scores and determination and posting of the seniority and ascertained merit scores. The passing score is the aggregate score for all the components tested or examined. The score may be announced prior to the date of promotion. The law may stipulate that the components of the written exam reflect the issues related to the duties to be performed in the rank expected for that examination.
The appointing authority may appoint agents to administer the examinations, and will test a written exam based on the material which they identify and make available to the potential examinees at least 90 days before administration of the examination. Grading of this written exam is done at the examination site on then examination day after completion of the test in front of observers. If done offsite by an agent, the observers will be expected to observe sealing and shipping and the opening latter upon return from the agency.
T6ehre are bases for awarding ascertained merits based on education and training, certification which may be published earlier on. Subjective evaluation may include an oral interview, tactical evaluation, performance evaluation, or other components based on the subjective evaluation of the person. Applicants will be notified of the component prior to application of it. The examinee may be assessed to determine their leadership, communication, interpersonal, incident command and judgment. Significance of Problem This paper will seek to discuss issues related to and answer the following questions related to the issues in the fire departments.
• Why is the test generated from an outside party with no fire dept. ties? If the department are fare enough should the agencies still be used and the necessity of it. • Why is the cut-off grade not given until the test is completed? • Why is the passing cut-off grade lower than normal academic requirements? • Is the test politically based or is it set for all to succeed? Studying these issues would help one to know the effects of the tests and their impact. Research on these and related issues would reveal irregularities existing, and look for ways to mend the holes. Source Review
Tests for promotion in the fire department involve written and evaluation test. In a writing test for uniform fire department personnel, bonus points are assigned so that a third of the group will receive a minimum of 75%. Except for the position of a fire captain where three quarter of the participants is allowed to achieve this. A passing score for the next evaluation is a 75% mark. A second written test would be conducted if only one or none passes since the requirement for further evaluation except for the only one that passes alone who has the chance to choose when to take the next evaluation.
He may also stand with the previous mark or sit for another one. Some of the things that may be tested in an evaluation are cooperation, initiative, personal effectiveness, attitude towards others, use and delegation of authority, organization and planning, persuasive ability, training and utilization of the subordinates, integrity and loyalty on the part of the leadership ability. They may also require knowing the health and physical fitness of an individual which may entail scrutiny of frequency of accidents while at job, physical condition of the individual, sick leave activity, attendance and ability to perform all duties physically.
According to Spielman (1996), firefighters were proposed to wait a minimum of five years before qualifying to take promotion examinations, and proposal by the Union Local 2 added that the seniority and education points be awarded in a weighted process which also factors in test scores and in-person interviews. The committee which recommended changes to the Chicago fire department and handed the report to the then, Mayor Darly, called for oral portions in exams to consist a greater percentage of testing knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to do the job . Irregularities in the tests
The fire fighting departments has not been without complains. Cheating in the promotional examinations has been reported in the fire service for example in Boston, MA where cell phones were used by FFs to text answers to their friends; in Baltimore, MD where top scorers had questions from 2001 examinations that were reused and in Chicago, Illinois where FFs cheated on EMT training examination (Bellenger, & Dean). Thus their administration should be carefully checked to make sure that such incidences do not occur. Exams for promotion have also been dogged with issues of discrimination of people with their races.
For example, in the 1990 exam, out of the 117 who qualified for promotion, there were only 17 black. In a memo to city officials in the 2000, the Madison Fire fighting Department was accused of being discriminatory and unfair by the city’s affirmative director, Kirbie Mack. The department, according to The Capital Times (Shepard, 2000) had promoted no person of color since 1996, out of a total of 47 people. The fire Chief Amesqua had argued that the reasons people of color had not been promoted to lieutenant position was because a few had applied and that seniority had placed them low on the list for selection.
Data however had indicated that such low applications were real and in the then three recent promotional cycles, 14 people of color out of 150 had applied and three had failed to show up for the written exams while five failed it. Only six made it to the final position out of the 100. He latter in January 12, 2001 (Judith, 2001) denied this allegation that his department was discriminatory and unfair, and presented figures to show that the diversity in the department mirrored the larger community: the people of color made 9 % of Dane County’s population and 16 % of employees in the fire department.
In the Chicago Fire Department , only less than 5% of the department in 1970s composed of the blacks and the Hispanics and the Justice Department sued the city; the case which was settled by the court orders requiring hiring and promotion of more minorities in the department. The city is said to have responded by stopping to hire for years (Judson Miner-an attorney representing the black fire fighters and the city’s corporation counsel in 1980s). There was a strike that followed and a contract to affirmative action was settled on till 45% were employees in the department.
In 2004, according to out of the total of the uniformed department, about 31% represented the minorities. There are whites who have raised issues as being passed over in favor of the minority groups and view it as unfair. Wherever the truth lies, firefighters feel the heat when they go out and do their jobs. Causes and reduction of irregularities Irregularities may occur as a result of delayed time which could allow manipulation of the results to favor some candidates. The cut off grade is delayed so that there will be regulation of the number qualifying.
If everybody was to qualify, then there would be a problem in choosing the person to occupy the position. Usually, the examination should be set free of political influence. There have been claims of bias towards some of the races who have been said to be discriminated against. Reduction of irregularities can be achieved by a careful selection of an unbiased agent to administer the test. The process should be as open as possible to avoid bias and arising of complains. If the tests are not conducted in an open way it is difficult to avoid problems and claims. Conclusion/Recommendations
There are laws as discussed regarding promotion process in the fire department. Requirements include academic qualifications, work experience and personal abilities to do the job. All these can be proved when one passes examinations that are administered for promotion in the field. These include the written and evaluation tests. Cases that are received of allegations should be addressed a proper means sought to reduce such occurrences. There are issues that have been raised in the past concerning issues of promotion that needs to be addressed and a long lasting solution sought.
Promotion process itself ought to be a fair, open and a clean process. The problem underlying could be as a result of the process itself; the delays and issues to do with the agents. The fire department must ensure that current stringent measures are put in place to allow only agents who qualify to standards administer the examinations so as to minimize cases of complains. Since affirmative actions have raised issues, they should be scrutinized and offered at an open way where everybody will understand and know. The process should be kept as open as possible.
Reference Baker Bill. Policy 12-1 Promotion system for uniform fire department personnel. 1 March 2000. Fire Department. Retrieved from http://www. cityof. lawton. ok. us/CityCode/Administrative_Policies/Section_12/1. html on 9 October 2008. Bellenger, B. L. and Dean C. R. Cheating on promotional public safety examinations: Strategies for responding to a widespread test scrutiny compromise. Personnel Board of Jefferson County. PDF. Retrieved from www. ipmaac.
org/conf/08/bellenger. pdf on 9 October 2008. Fire promotion assessment package. Fire & Police Selection Inc (FPSI). Retrieved from http://www. fpsi. com/fire_promotional. html on 9 October 2008. Jason Shepard. Bias Alleged in fire promotions. (Front). The Capital Times (Madison, WI). November 11, 2001. Judith Davidoff. Amesqua: No bias in promotions. (Local/State). The Capital Times (Madison, WI). January 12, 2001. Spielman Fran. Panel offers Fire Dept. promotion proposals. September 13, 1996. Chicago Times.
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