Audit: L.A. County Fire Officials Improperly Shared Test Materials, Interview Questions With Relatives

An audit of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s hiring process has revealed that high-ranking officials shared confidential interview questions and other department testing materials with relatives in an apparent attempt to get them hired.

The Auditor-Controller’s office released the following conclusion Friday:

“Overall, our investigation found that numerous sworn Fire personnel, particularly at the rank of Fire Captain, were disseminating questions and answers from the FFT [Fire Fighter Trainee] and other Civil Service examinations. We also found evidence that some candidates may have had access to test preparation assistance… that was not available to the general public.”

According to the review, 17 sworn department officials, including a battalion chief and 10 captains, were involved in disseminating the information. Most of them could not say why they did so or how they believed the materials were being used.

The probe was launched amid allegations of nepotism within the Los Angeles County Fire Department. A Los Angeles Times investigation found that at least 183 children of former or current firefighters had been hired since the beginning of 2012, with accusations that they had been given sensitive interview and testing materials beforehand.

According to the audit, of the 701 firefighter candidates hired between 2007 and 2014, 15% were found to have familial ties to department officials.

Read more about the audit here.