“The inappropriate cronyism (for these LA firefighting jobs) that occurred in the first-place (and caused a scandal) and now the solution, a lottery, are symptoms of the fact that free competitive markets aren’t allowed to operate when it comes to these unionized, government jobs…
…The fact of the matter is that these jobs are very high paying (with substantial health, welfare, and retirement benefits..including a lucrative pension), relative to the median (“average”) private sector job in California. As a result, literally thousands of qualified individuals apply for these few positions. What would the free, competitive, private-sector markets do? There is clearly a supply (of labor) and demand (need for labor) imbalance at the current price. The private sector would lower the pay and benefits until the supply of qualified applicants met the demand and/or significantly raise the hiring standards. And that’s probably what the LA city government (whose finances are tight) should also do, especially when the average taxpayer who pays for these firefighters makes less, has less benefits, generally can’t retire at such a young age with a generous pension, and has nowhere near the job security. It’s not right. It’s unfair, and the LA city government proposing to use a lottery to randomly pick a handful of winners proves this.”, Mike Perry
Garcetti moves to restart suspended LAFD hiring drive
By Ben Welsh
With overhauled procedures, Los Angeles is once again moving to hire new firefighters after the process was suspended earlier this year amid concerns about nepotism and mismanagement.
In a bid to boost the number of women and minorities in the LAFD’s ranks, a lottery will be used to winnow the pool of candidates seeking coveted slots in new fire academy classes, according to a draft of revised city rules.
When Mayor Eric Garcetti scrapped the last round of firefighter hiring in March, he promised to follow recommendations of outside experts from the Rand Corp., who were hired to review the recruitment process.
But with the $270,000 report still unfinished, the mayor chose to move ahead with hiring so the city can rapidly fill three classes of recruits budgeted for this fiscal year.
“Timing demands that we get moving now in order to start the first class in December,” said Vicki Curry, a spokeswoman for the mayor. “We are open to improve as we move forward and the Rand report will help us in doing that.”
The proposed reforms, scheduled for a final review by the city’s civil service commission Thursday, revamp a hiring process that drew criticism after thousands of candidates for a new class hired earlier this year were excluded because some of their paperwork wasn’t received in the first 60 seconds of a filing period.
Nearly 25% of the 70 recruits eventually hired were related to LAFD firefighters, and the group’s makeup was overwhelmingly white and included only one woman. An ongoing city probe is investigating whether LAFD insiders provided an advantage to favored candidates.
Under the proposed rules, the city would accept firefighter applications online for several days beginning July 22. All of the applicants would be entered in a lottery with a limited number of winners selected to move on to a written exam, background check and scored interview.
The drawing would be weighted to ensure the share of women and minorities that advance closely matches the number that apply, according to Gloria Sosa, an assistant general manager at the city Personnel Department, who worked with the mayor’s office and fire officials to revise the process.
Those not selected in the lottery would have to wait for a future drawing, regardless of their qualifications, Sosa said. Candidates who were close to being hired when the process was scrapped in March will be asked to submit new applications, she said.
“This new process will reflect the applicant pool — as determined by those who apply, not by the city,” Curry said. “Mayor Garcetti is seeking a system that results in a fire department that better reflects the city of Los Angeles and has the best possible firefighters.”