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Home arrow Management arrow Recommendations for improving the recruiting and hiring of los angeles firefighters

Costs to the City

All stages of the selection process are costly, including recruitment, test administration, interviews, background investigations, and medical and psychological examinations, particularly at the scale of 13,000 applicants. For example, maintaining an active recruitment campaign requires funding for events such as job fairs, recruitment materials, and time spent by firefighters and Personnel Department staff. In the past cycle, the Personnel Department had a budget of $105,000 for outreach and recruitment alone.

The costs associated with the written test are also substantial. In the last cycle, the cost to rent the Convention Center to accommodate the large number of test takers was roughly $20,000. The Personnel Department estimates that proctors cost about $6,000 on top of that. Test development, scoring, and recording of results are front-end and back-end expenses that also factor into implementing the written test, though exact costs for development and scoring have not been reported.

Interviews and background investigations, however, are the most expensive elements of the selection process because of the number of personnel hours required to complete them. In 2012-2013, almost 1,000 candidates were interviewed. The Personnel Department estimates the cost of interview specialists during the interview process at $6,000 and estimates the entire background investigation process, including clerical support and case managers, at upward of $270,000.

The city must also compensate city physicians and psychologists for medical and psychological examinations. The cost is currently mitigated because the number of candidates making it to these stages of the selection process is quite small. During the latest hiring cycle, the city Personnel Department estimates these examinations were a $10,000 expense.

LAFD staffing costs are not included in any of these estimates. Firefighters participate in the Initial Panel Review, the Final Panel Review, and oral interviews–these are additional responsibilities for firefighters who are often already working overtime. The Personnel Department, likewise, must dedicate its own staff outside normal hours for tasks like proctoring the written exam.

Finally, litigation associated with the city's hiring practices is a significant cost that must be considered. We discuss legal defensibility later in this appendix.

 
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