Common Council to change hiring process for firefighters and police officers


Common Council to change hiring process for firefighters and police officers

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo’s Common Council is making some major changes to the hiring process for firefighters and police officers. This comes just weeks after the city’s psychologist who gave the psychological exam for applicants stepped down. Now the council says it’s not only searching for a new psychologist, but revamping the process.

“This is a very, can be a very intimidating process,” said Darius Pridgen, Common Council president.

That’s why Common Council president Darius Pridgen says the council is working to change parts of the hiring process for firefighters and police officers.

“This is a very important job. They’ve spent their lives wanting to get these jobs,” said Pridgen.

The first step is hiring a new psychologist or team of psychologists to do the psych exam for applicants. “One of the things that we think is so important is not to have one person making that decision,” said Pridgen.

The previous psychologist quit in early March, after several complaints of inappropriate questions.

Pridgen says human resources is very open to making changes and fixing the process. He says psychologists from across the country and here in western New York have reached out to council members about the job.

“Have someone who has a background not only in psychological area but also is familiar with probably the different backgrounds that everyone is coming from in the city of Buffalo,” said Councilman Chris Scanlon of the South District.

Another step, the council is also changing the appeals process for applicants. Scanlon says they’re giving a second chance to about 40 firefighter candidates who were disqualified by the former psychologist.

“All of the applicants who were not moved forward because of the psychological exam will have the opportunity to appeal whether they put in the appeal or not,” said Pridgen.

That appeal will be in front of a board and it’s an option applicants didn’t have before. In the past, candidates just sent in a brief letter.

Pridgen says he believes the controversy with the former psychologist may have discouraged some people from applying. But he hopes they realize changes are coming.

“I think at times some people have become standoffish a little leery, but I can’t say enough that this process is being tweaked for the better,” said Pridgen.

Pridgen says they are exploring the option of hiring one psychologist who’s out of state and could still do the psych exam via Skype.

There is a short timeline for the council, as they want to hire a new psychologist soon in time for the next firefighter exam which is in May.

Source: Buffalo New York’s Latest News
Common Council to change hiring process for firefighters and police officers

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