CITY HALL — The City Council did away with charging a fee to take the Police or Fire Department entrance exams Wednesday, over the objections of an alderman known as a police and fire advocate.
In a bid to encourage diversity, aldermen dropped a $30 fee charged to take either the police or fire entry exam.
"I have a real problem with this ordinance," said Ald. Nicholas Sposato (38th), a former firefighter who recently helped sponsor a pro-police rally on the Northwest Side. Sposato added that "$30 really means nothing these days," and "I always thought it should at least be $50," to reflect both the public stature and the well-paying nature of the jobs.
Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th), chairman of the Workforce Development Committee that passed the ordinance, pointed to how 5,437 potential applicants initially signed up online to take the most recent Police Department entry exam in May only to not follow through with making a payment to take the test.
O'Connor said the reform would be felt in the African-American and Hispanic communities, and the departments would benefit from a more diverse pool of applicants.
The Council also approved making permanent a city program for produce carts and moved to expand it from 30 carts citywide to 50, while cutting that license fee as well to encourage participation.
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