Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard has ordered an investigation into alleged cheating on the promotional exams for Portland firefighters. The scores on the exams help determine which firefighters advance in rank, receive higher pay and get more choice assignments.

In response to a public records request from WW, Portland Fire & Rescue spokesman Paul Corah provided the memo below, written today by Chief John Klum.

Because the investigation is still pending, Corah says he could not comment on how many people might be involved or the specific nature of the allegations. Corah says he expects the investigation, which began in October, to conclude shortly.

Leonard, a former firefighter, is the city commissioner who oversees the Fire Bureau. Ty Kovatch, Leonard's chief of staff, also declined to comment on specifics of the investigation.

Here's Klum's memo:

December 15, 2011

To: PF&R Members

From: John Klum, Fire ChiefRE: Pending Investigation

As Fire Chief, I want to bring to the attention of all PF&R staff that an investigation is currently ongoing into PF&R's promotional examination process.

A specific complaint alleging that promotional testing materials were improperly distributed was brought to my attention in October. Although the allegation does not affect any current promotional process and the incident occurred after the test in question, it is being taken very seriously.

At the direction of Commissioner Leonard, an independent investigation was immediately launched and is on-going. At the conclusion of this independent investigation, I will make the results and any recommendations for follow-up action available to the membership and interested parties.

At this time, I want to assure all members that PF&R holds the integrity of our hiring and promotional processes in the highest regard. I am committed to providing all candidates and staff with a fair and impartial testing process.