Mixer: Mayor douses city Fire Department recruiting

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MixerBannerThis week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered an immediate stop to the recruitment of firefighters in the city’s department.

He called the hiring process “fatally flawed” and he’s enlisted Santa Monica-based think tank RAND Corporation to study the process.

That means a scheduled fire academy class with about 70 cadets will no longer be held, and no more firefighters will be hired from the current civil service list for the next three months.

Garcetti made the move after learning that fire department staff were holding special recruiting workshops for department insiders. And supervisors reportedly may have favored family and friends of current fire employees.

Interim Fire Chief James Featherstone said the workshops may have been conceived in good faith, but caused the recruiting and hiring process to be “less than fair and impartial.”

Los Angeles Times Data Desk reporter Ben Welsh joined us. As did KCRW’s Warren Olney, about this week’s big, critical debate (sponsored by the LA Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists) among candidates who are vying for Los Angeles County 3rd District Supervisor to replace termed-out Supe Zev Yaroslavsky.

It’s the first time in years that one of the most powerful political posts in the country is up for grabs.

LA County has nearly 10 million people. Which is bigger than most states. Five people (including the new, incoming supervisor) oversee budgets of more than $25 billion.

It’s a very powerful position, with few checks and balances.

Warren Olney was moderator of the debate, about which you can find out more, and see a replay of, here.