March 1st, 2012 1:30 pm | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: City Hall, PDX Votes, Politics

Fire Bureau Probe Finds No Wrongdoing


City Commissioner Randy Leonard today released the results of an investigation into whether firefighters cheated on the promotional exams that govern their advancement and compensation.

The investigation found that former a Portland Fire & Rescue training officer, Scott Fisher, shared testing materials and coached selected firefighters on how to succeed on exams. but the investigation concluded that his conduct was not contrary to city rules

Leonard says that, if Fisher were still working for the bureau, he would be demoted for his actions.

Here's what Leonard, who served as a firefighter for 24 years before joining City Council in 2002 and now serves as Fire Commissioner, wrote to Chief John Klum:
"A recent investigation conducted by BHR and Bill Sinnott confirmed allegations that former Division Chief Scott Fisher provided a copy of a Captain’s promotional exam to a prospective future candidate. Although the findings did not identify a specific rule that was violated, I am very troubled by Mr. Fisher’s actions as they serve to undermine the integrity of Portland Fire & Rescue’s promotional system. In the report, Mr. Sinnott and BHR make three recommendations. I am directing Portland Fire & Rescue to implement these recommendations as soon as possible:

1. Increase the security of examination materials by insuring that all draft and final examination documents, both electronic and paper copies, are retained by BHR. BHR shall take steps to insure that no party receives a copy of the examination except for BHR personnel and Subject Matter Experts from external agencies designated to assist with promotional examinations.

2. Discontinue the practice of ad hoc practice examinations. If PF&R wishes to offer practice promotional examinations, they should be developed in partnership with BHR and offered to all prospective promotional candidates.

3. Communicate security measures with prospective candidates to reduce fear of manipulation of promotional examinations. Additionally, I am disturbed that Mr. Fisher’s actions do not violate any PF&R and/or BHR rules or policies. Therefore, I am directing PF&R to work with BHR establish rules prohibiting actions like Mr. Fisher’s, as well as generally prohibiting the sharing of any information obtained by PF&R personnel in the examination process, including prohibiting the sharing of questions asked on written promotional examinations.

To the larger question of whether the Fire Bureau has a widespread problem, the investigators found that it does not.

"The investigation revealed no individual or systematic cheating or improprieties on promotional tests," the report says.
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