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Westchester Civil Service Captains Exam Scandal?

17 posts in this topic

I'm not trying to start any trouble at all here, just presenting fact for discussion.

I have confirmed that there was an issue with cheating on the NYS Fire Captains Civil Service Exam. Specifically, a Career Firefighter in Westchester took the exam for the Westchester list, and it was discovered that he intentionally cheated by copying someone else's answers, and that person was knowingly helping him out.

This person was appointed Captain, but now has been demoted and suspended pending an investigation. This may lead to the voiding of the list and everyone appointed to Captain from this list may be demoted due to the outcome of the investigation.

I don't care about who this is or what department they work for, but does this speak anything about the intergrity of the person, department, or their ability to become a captain? What discipline issues could be involved, and would termination be a consequence? This person potentially comprimised other people's careers and the Civil Service process. I guess I'm asking what rules are in place regarding this type of situation?

This is or will be available via the Open Records Act once the investigation is complete.

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In short, often the disciplinary options available are laid out in a CBA.

As for this ever becoming public, I'm not so sure. Open Records Law, or more appropriately in New York the Freedom of Information Law does not always apply to law enforcement and firefighters in matters of personnel investigations.

See NYS Civil Rights Law Section 50 which reads in relevant part that records related to employment and promotion are generally not public records, and accordingly, are not releasable. Visit this link to read the full text.

jack10562 likes this

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INIT, I breifly read through what you linked to. Basically, there's any way to kick a FOIL request back. Thank you for educating me, it's been banged into my head that anything we do is Open Records or can end up in a court of law. Your info helped to enlighten me a bit. Personal experience has something to do with my personal perception still.

I should correct my statement. If this was to become public, there is going to be a need for some answers. And I would assume a "cheating scandal" investigation, would, in some form, become elegible for FOIL. And, a smart PIO would release some documentation proactively.

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This firefighter is disgusting. I don't know or care who he is, but what "Brother" would attempt to get ahead off the backs of his fellow "Brothers" who actually studied for the examination?

If you're dumb as rocks taking tests but an excellent firefighter, it's still wrong. The process is based on the ability to take a test, not firefighting knowledge, experience, or skill. (which I think it should be based on). But it is the way it is, and he should have prepared better.

At the very least, this firefighter should be demoted and his salary should be docked until he pays back all the extra money he earned under the Captain rank. I hate to see anyone lose their pension, and I don't know where he is in his career, but he should be fired, unless those kinds of morals and ethics are acceptable to the people he answers to.

And if the person he cheated off of was knowingly involved, they should face discipline as well.

If the list is voided, I know I'd be suing this guy!

Edited by LineCapt
SteveOFD, SageVigiles and x129K like this

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how do you prove this?? one of two ways i think either they admitted it--in which case his heart got the best of him. or the other guy squeeled to someone in which case i am not sure i would protect them either. or some one just laid it out there hoping something would happen--jealouse person. any way or which way it isne a pretty situation fo rthe individual--the department or the career fire service as a whole. lets hope its all misunderstanding and we all get to live our lives normally.

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When ever I took a test there was a monitor in the room. How did the monitor let them cheat in the first place.

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Quite possible the monitor was the one who reported it. If this is true BOTH cheating hairbags should be shown the door.

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"Brotherhood"? I am not surprised at all if this is true, recently Atlanta had a big scandal with testing. If you take an exam watch everything and listen also. Our system is not protected and nothing IMO would be a shocker too include tests being reviewed prior to the test being issued. Remember that city hall has these tests prior to being given which would certainly make me think about corruption!

SageVigiles likes this

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For me based on what has been reported here, the "dynamics" of this story just don't add up to a monitor catching the act. We apparently have two colluding test takers. If they were caught cheating by a monitor, my guess is the testing in that room would have been suspended, and at the very least the two people would have been removed. Paperwork about the incident would have been filed.

There is NO WAY the cheaters would have been certified on a list, one of those two then going on to interview for promotion, and then receiving that promotion if this scandal began with a monitor catching those involved in the act.

It sounds like after the fact of promotion, further information came to light, possibly the two tests were compared, and lined up identically. This evidence, combined with some notification from an involved party, comparison of seating charts, times of departure from the test, etc. could add up to an investigation being pursued, and possibly some sort of confession.

Once again I'd ask the question; what are people thinking these days? Has greed so clouded someone's better judgement that they would put at risk possibly their entire career for the chance at making a little more money? Reminds me of the firemen who got busted growing pot, the cop with the pills up at the airport, or the other examples we have seen through the years.

Remember what you stand to LOSE by trying to game the system, before you start thinking about what you stand to gain by taking such reckless and disgraceful chances. And if you have a conscience, an act like this should hound you forever.

And a PS: Receiving promotion is a great honor. Along with the money comes great responsibility, added stress, and sometimes straining health issues. Be prepared to be overwhelmed. If an officer tells you how great you have it as a firefighter, that officer knows the difference between the two job functions. Recognize and heed words of wisdom, and be thankful for what you have. Take some time to smell the roses....

firecapt32, BIGRED1 and x129K like this

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Why would anyone taking a promotional exam give another competitor a correct answer? In all of the tests that I took, there was no way in Hell that I would help another during the test. Studying with others prior to the test? Yes, but when the chips are down you're on your own.

efdcapt115 likes this

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Why would anyone taking a promotional exam give another competitor a correct answer?

Oh you just give them the wrong answers. If they dumb enough to cheat, then they wont need to pass anyway. Just one more person you did better then :D

All kidding aside, cheating is bad and its mere allegation taints the pool of candidates. These two buffoons need to be shown the door and room needs to be made for the honest guys who study and break their asses going to classes and hitting the books instead of the bar (most nights :rolleyes:)

efdcapt115 likes this

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Let's see what is worse, guys cheating on an exam or numerous questions being tossed out because 80% of minorities got them wrong and then your grade is based on some ludicrous curve? Hmm? I guess both are an injustice.

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There might be difference in having the grades adjusted by the court system--and cheating on the exam. If you worked at the Department how do you now trust that individual?? Would they be willing to compromise in a fire inspection?? or how about telling you dinner was 10 a man when it was only 5?? greed is powerfull?

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I know a Captain in a Westchester department resigned shortly after being appointed recently. Another member of the department is suing the department for having higher score yet getting passed over for the Captain promotion on the same test. The member suing used to be one of the union reps for the department.

I orginally thought this was a member of a Dutchess County career department, but the person is only a Chief in a Volunteer department in Dutchess as well as a career firefighter.

Edited by WHarley3

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There might be difference in having the grades adjusted by the court system--and cheating on the exam. If you worked at the Department how do you now trust that individual?? Would they be willing to compromise in a fire inspection?? or how about telling you dinner was 10 a man when it was only 5?? greed is powerfull?

No matter how you look at it your life and the lives of others could be at stake. Can you trust a guy who got a Promotion because he got a higher grade then you due to some ridiculous Court based ruling, but may have even failed the test if it was graded legite? Which btw I know for a fact happened in one instance and Im sure there's many more. This imbosol almost got some guys killed on more then one occassion because of a Liberal Judge's decision!

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Why would anyone taking a promotional exam give another competitor a correct answer? In all of the tests that I took, there was no way in Hell that I would help another during the test. Studying with others prior to the test? Yes, but when the chips are down you're on your own.

If this is a county wide Captains test, then the two involved with sharing answers may have been from 2 different departments, thus really not competing against each other. Problems with smaller Depts. is the "pool" gets real small as the rank gets higher. Its not like a large city where the list could be 40 people. May only be 2 to pick from. In this situation sometimes the person is already "picked" for the job and has to be reachable on the list. Sometimes it may only be one person from a specific Dept up for the promotion and all they have to do is pass the test. Some may take the defense that its its no big deal...the guy is a great fireman but bad test taker, feed him some answers so he passes and gets the promotion. Not saying this is right just stating some of the scenarios that could take place.

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Some may take the defense that its its no big deal...the guy is a great fireman but bad test taker, feed him some answers so he passes and gets the promotion.

And that is exactly what I believe the reasoning was in some people's minds.

erock1171 likes this

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