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In re Winters

December 15, 2009

IN THE MATTER OF STEVEN WINTERS, FIRE OFFICER 2 (PM3602G), NORTH HUDSON REGIONAL FIRE AND RESCUE.


On appeal from the Civil Service Commission, Department of Personnel, Docket No. 2008-3944.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 27, 2009

Before Judges Skillman and Gilroy.

Steven Winters appeals from a final decision of the Civil Service Commission, issued on July 31, 2008, which denied his appeal from the rescoring of one answer on the multiple choice portion of a promotional examination for battalion fire chief and fire officer 2. This rescoring resulted in the reduction of Winters's score from 90 to 89.7, as a result of which his rank on the promotional list for Fire Officer 2 in North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue was reduced from third to fifth.*fn1

The multiple choice portion of the promotional examination consisted of eighty-one questions relating to twelve different fire emergency "scenarios." The general instructions for this portion of the examination stated:

The Written Multiple-Choice Examination requires you to respond to a series of multiple-choice items based on each of 12 scenarios that comprise the test. All scenarios consist of a written description and at least one diagram that provides the information regarding each scenario. Immediately following the written description for each scenario, instructions are provided to inform you about the diagram(s) to which you should refer, and how many test items pertain to that scenario. Based on the information contained in the written description and diagram, you will select the best response from the four choices provided for each test item.

Winters's appeal is directed solely at the correct answer to question 40 under scenario 6. Scenario 6 stated as follows:

You are a recently promoted Battalion Chief. You have been dispatched to a report of a fire in a vacant warehouse. Police have reported smoke coming from the building.

The structure is 100' X 100' and of mill construction. It is 6:00 a.m. with a temperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit and a wind speed of 10 - 15 mph accompanied by gusts of up to 25 mph blowing from the east to the west. Weather channel reports an imminent storm approaching.

From pre-planning, you know that homeless persons sometimes occupy the building.

Scenario 6 also included a diagram.

Question 40 asked:

The general collapse characteristic of a building ...


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