Fire, police to explore testing service

By Gary Budzak

April 6, 2014

Delaware’s fire and police departments are considering a new way of testing applicants.

Fire Chief John Donahue and Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski each said they are taking a look at the National Testing Network (NTN). According to its website, the Seattle-based firm “directly contracts with public safety departments across the country to test candidates for jobs. Once a candidate completes this simple process, information and test scores will be sent directly to each department.”

Donahue said agencies in Westerville, Worthington, Upper Arlington are using NTN, as well as other cities throughout the country.

Among Donahue’s concerns were the validation of the department’s current in-house physical agility tests; reducing the hiring time for the positions and the diversity of candidates.

NTN uses a Candidate Physical Aptitude Test, which Donahue said was designed by the International Association of Firefighters and reviewed by the Department of Justice. In addition, using the service would attract candidates from across the country.

“The nice part about going with these outsourcing companies is it will improve our ability to reach out to a lot of different people,” said Assistant City Manager Jackie Walker to the three-member Civil Service Commission on last month. “People are much more technology-driven. We just don’t want to lose out on getting good candidates because we’re not keeping up with the times.”

“We want to research from a police, fire and human resources standpoint if there’s any ways we can make improvements with the candidates we get to work in the city,” Donahue said. “We feel it’s time for us to take another look at that.”

“I think all the way around it would be an improvement,” Pijanowski said. “It will increase our ability to recruit and test.”

According to the meeting minutes, Fire Lieutenant Matt Kasik voiced his concerns with the NTN. “Matt’s concerns included the recruitment of City of Delaware residents, and a desire to keep the physical fitness testing process in-house,” the minutes said.

“We’re not saying that we’re changing anything, but we feel it’s fair to our candidates to periodically take a look at the process,” Donahue told the commission.