SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Fire union officials expressed their concern after the city of Springfield lowered the passing grade for the firefighter exam.
The Springfield Fire Division’s written exam minimum passing score has been lowered from 70 to 66, a move that has drawn criticism from the fire union.
“Having the standard lowered diminishes the quality of the candidate,” IAFF Local 333 president Andrew Rigsbee told WHIO.
The city said the new passing grade will help expand its pool of potential candidates.
“I think we’ve all taken tests in our lives and you know that any given day your score can vary a little bit,” city manager Jim Bodenmiller said. “A couple points here or there on a written test is not the real key.”
Rigsbee and other fire officials said the city should instead be “making a competitive wage package, a competitive benefits package and making the condition that we work under better for all the employees that we have.”
Rigsbee also noted that the city’s tight budget and a high call volume has impacted the department’s ability to recruit and retain firefighters.
“Now we’re starting to see people who are leaving for smaller departments and the primary driver seems to be better wages,” Rigsbee said.