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Firm to help city with its police-hiring policy

Published: Fri, October 29, 2010 @ 12:08 a.m.

By David Skolnick



The city will pay at least $10,500 to a firm to help change its policy on hiring police officers.

The city’s dual hiring lists — one for white men and the other for minorities and females — for those seeking to be police officers and firefighters has faced criticism from city officials and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

The board of control voted Thursday to hire Barrett & Associates, a Cuyahoga Falls firm that specializes in legal and human-resources consulting.

Officials with the firm will meet shortly with the city administration to discuss what needs to be done to change Youngstown’s hiring policies regarding police officers, Mayor Jay Williams said.

The city’s current practice is to hire one minority or woman for every two men they hire in the police and fire departments.

The city’s long-standing policy with two lists could result in lawsuits, Williams said. A federal appeals court declared the use of two lists by Shreveport, La., to be unconstitutional in 2006.

“The way of doing this is no longer acceptable,” Williams said.

Taking care of the police issue comes first.

The city plans to have an entry-level police-officer test early next year, said Law Director Iris Torres Guglucello. The current civil- service list for police officers expires next month, she said.

The city later will address firefighters. A test for fire department hires, if there are to be any, would be in April at the earliest.

Minorities and women don’t typically score as high on the written test as white men, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t qualified, Williams said.

The city needs to maintain a qualified work force that can’t be challenged as being discriminatory, he said.

Williams has proposed putting everyone who passes the written test on one list and then have city administrators pick qualified candidates. A passing grade is 70.

That proposal drew criticism from Abigail Thernstrom, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ vice chairwoman. In a statement last month to The Vindicator, she wrote that allowing the appointment of anyone who passes the written test would still violate the law if the hirings were based on race and gender.

The city will pay $10,500 to Barrett & Associates to help develop a civil-service test policy for police officers that would meet state and federal legal standards.

The city can also pay $14,035 more for other options, including having Barrett develop and oversee a physical-agility test, create a study guide for those wanting to take the test, and have preparation classes for those interested in taking the test.

The city plans a “significant outreach” to find people wanting to take the police entry exam, particularly minorities, Williams said.

It will be the responsibility of those who argue, sometimes accurately, about the lack of diversity in the city’s hiring to get the word out about the exam, Williams said. That includes churches, the NAACP, the Urban League, and the Organizacion Civica y Cultural Hispana America, he said.


1ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Is city council too dumb to think this out themselves? A few hours, a computer and Google search will probably answer 90% of the questions as to how every other city in the US does their hiring. But here in Youngstown we must throw away money reinventing the wheel.

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2USMC0331(152 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Not only that but we have to hire people from the great mayors church so that they can kick back 20% of their pay to the church! Hire anyone who passes the test? Wow! Isn't this the reason that the civil service was established so that there were no questions? I can handle the study guide thing but the rest is crap! Can you imagine the type of officers they'll get?!

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3UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Hire the best qualified test taker with the highest score no matter what their race or color of the skin. Isn't that what the goal of civil rights is Mayor Jay?

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4Cricketmab(4 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

UnionForever said exactly what I've been saying for years. I thought it was about having the same opportunities, regardless of creed, color or race.

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5palbubba(791 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

As a police officer or firefighter the highest test score should be part of the hiring. Physical capabilities also play an important role in these two positions also. There should be a physical fitness test also then the highest combined score would get the job. There you go coucil I should have just saved you over $10,000. I can't believe ytownsteelman had to ask if council wasn't smart enough to do this on their own. Of course not, they are to busy trying to decide if it should be illegal to text while you are driving. Enough said?

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6mrblue(1175 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

A total waste of taxpayers dollars. Once again we are seeing administrative stupidty in Y-town.

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7CityDweller(6 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I don't think even they are too stupid to see the obvious, hire the best qualified. I think the problem is that they WANT to pick officers based on color/sex and they are really trying to find a way around this. What they should do is offer a study/training class free and open to everyone. Hire the best qualified no matter what color/sex. That is the only way to make sure there is no discrimination.

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8Silence_Dogood(1657 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Listen Lady's and Gent's if you don't have two lists or get to play games with the way they hire you would NEVER be able to have a "GREAT" Police Chief like Jimmy Hughes.Have any of you ever wondered how he did on those tests.
That is the real story that the Vindy should be writting about, the story were you promote an underquailified person to a position of authority overseeing people that are way more qualified but by an act of birth have the wrong color skin.
For those that are about to jump on my back for being a racist, I think Bob Bush would be the best Police Chief this town could have and he is a HIGHLY Qualified Black Man who knows what the heck is going on in this town.

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9Traveler(606 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

They dont want to hire the best person for the job. They want to hire the person that they like whether or not he is qualified.

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10TylerDurden(367 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

"Minorities and women don’t typically score as high on the written test as white men, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t qualified, Williams said."

What does it mean then, Jay?

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11jeffhoef1(45 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Youngstown has always been a crooked place. In 2000 I was #1 on the list for firefighting and couldn't even get an interview. When I called king george to complain, he told me he had nothing to do with that. Then in his last month as Mayor he hired 20 unneeded untrained laborers who were politically connected. That cost the city more than an extra million dollars. My neighbor had a letter on king georges desk, he was qualified and tested and interviewed only to be superseded by a political hack. I cringe whenever I hear that loudmouth on the radio. He says one thing and then does another. Typical of the people we keep electing.

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12Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Study for the test, pass the test and physical and have a chance of getting hired. Case closed. Should have nothing to do with race or gender but it does and that's pitiful.

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