Connecticut City Discards Firefighter Hiring List After Cheating Scandal

The City of Norwalk has decided to discard its current firefighter hiring list and retest candidates following an investigation into possible cheating. The decision comes on the heels of the resignation of Assistant Chief Chris King, and the release of an investigative report.

At issue appears to be the involvement of Chief King in the development of the oral portion of the test, and whether he provided information to his son who took the exam. The city was alerted to an irregularity in the process by the testing company, Industrial/Organizational Solutions. They expressed a concern that a certain candidate’s answers were too perfect, as if the candidate had access to the “Assessor Rating Form Booklet”.

The city retained attorney Craig Thomas Dickinson of the law firm Littler Mendelson, P.C to conduct the investigation. The investigation took four weeks to complete and while heavily redacted, concluded that an unidentified officer admitted “that he violated the trust placed in him by sharing more confidential information than he should have to assist [REDACTED] prepare for and take the interview.[REDACTED] admits that he was coached by his father and that he used notes from those coaching discussions during the interview.”

The incident also has led to the resignation of Chief King’s son, Patrick King, an Assistant Building Official.

Here is a copy of the investigative report:

More on the decision to discard the test.

More on the resignation of Chief King.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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