Civil Service Commission takes more time on firefighter testing

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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 11:25 am, Tue Mar 25, 2014.

The Civil Service Commission postponed a decision Monday on how to test firefighters who want to move to full-time employment.

Britteny Morrow Ferrin of Morrow & Associates gave commissioners a proposal to conduct the personal interview portion of a three-step process that includes agility and written tests.

The commission already agreed the agility tests and written exams would be overseen by city personnel, leaving unresolved only the method of conducting the personal interviews.

Ferrin offered to assemble a panel that would interview the top 30 candidates to emerge from the agility and written tests. The cost was set at $4,500. The panel would consist of two members from inside the fire department, two from outside and one member of the commission.

An alternative bid was presented by Assistant Fire Chief Steve Betts, who presented two options. The first would use standard interview questions and the department’s command staff, reducing the total cost of the interviews to $750.

Alternatively, the department would assemble an interview panel consisting of two members of the Bellevue department’s command staff and two members from other fire departments, for a total cost of $3,000.

The city plans to hire 12 full-time firefighters, with nine of them in place by April 1.

Commissioners briefly considered a letter submitted on behalf of Russ Herting, president of the Bellevue Professional Firefighters Association, questioning whether Ferrin could provide “fair and unbiased” counsel.

The letter, from attorney John Corrigan, asserted that Ferrin had objected on Jan. 13 to Herting securing copies of invoices she submitted to the City of Papillion through a public records request.

“We have serious concerns as to whether Mr. Herting will receive a fair and unbiased evaluation,” the letter said. “Our concern flows to all of the members of the BPFA.”

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