Council Member Joseph Borelli (R – South Shore) is calling on the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to extend the life of the list of individuals who are waiting to enter the next class of the FDNY academy. Currently, in an effort to break test score ties, list numbers are assigned based on an individual’s written exam score and the fifth number of their social security number. This creates an unfair advantage for some applicants, especially for those who have made multiple attempts at becoming a firefighter and scored much lower in the past.

There are approximately 50 individuals on the current list who scored a 98 on the exam, like Nicholas Bentivegna, who took his exam five years ago and waited patiently to enter the next class of the FDNY academy. Unfortunately, these individuals will not make the next FDNY class because their social security numbers placed them at the end of the list, and that list is now expiring. This small group of individuals will now lose their place on the list unless an extension is granted by the DCAS Commissioner. Borelli is requesting that DCAS, which is the agency that administers exams for civil service jobs in New York City, to extend the list for this small group of individuals, at least until the next FDNY class is available. There is also a need for a long-term solution, and Borelli believes that creating a rule which would prioritize those who pass on their first attempt is needed. By assigning list numbers based on the written exam score, physical exam score, and the number of attempts they’ve made, a fairer listing process would be created.

“It is simply unfair to proceed this way on what amounts to a life changing hiring for many otherwise-qualified individuals,” said Borelli. If there are no ways to evaluate and stratify within each score, all people from a certain score should be offered employment prior to the start of a new list. Fair is fair.”

“My whole life, I was taught that if I want something bad enough, I must work hard and stay focused to the end goal,” said Nicholas Bentivegna. “It seems this value was lost for a lot of people who were hired ahead of me.”

Nicholas Bentivegna is a resident of the Great Kills section of Staten Island.