- Associated Press - Thursday, March 20, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered a halt to the Fire Department’s recruiting process Thursday, calling it “fatally flawed.”

“Our firefighters perform heroically every day, and I want to make sure that the next generation of firefighters upholds the levels excellence practiced by today’s firefighters,” Garcetti said in a statement.

The mayor said he took the action after discovering that Fire Department staff organized “special recruiting workshops for LAFD insiders” and that a disproportionate number of recruits were related to staffers, including relatives of managers who oversee recruiting and training.

Also noted was a process that only considered applications received within a one-minute time period.

Under the mayor’s order, nobody else will be hired from the current civil service list and the next scheduled Fire Academy class of about 70 cadets won’t be held.

The Fire Department has launched an internal investigation and Garcetti said he has asked the RAND Corp. to assist in reforming the recruiting process. A new recruiting process will take place after an initial three-month review by RAND, the mayor’s office statement said.

“It’s important to make sure the hiring process is fair and equitable,” Interim Fire Chief James Featherstone said in a statement. “I am confident in our ability to keep LA safe with our 3,300 current firefighters, who exemplify professionalism and excellence.”



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