The taxpaying public deserves a lot more answers than it is getting from the city of Las Vegas about a cheating scandal that wiped out a class of firefighter recruits.
The city’s decision to block the 14-member class from graduating last month cements the loss of almost $719,000. That’s how much it cost to train the recruits and pay them for attending the 18-week academy. Their performance on the written exam prompted suspicion that cheating took place. The city’s probe of the recruits is complete, but other employees are being investigated as potential conspirators.
Certainly, public safety cannot be entrusted to people who lack the proficiency or integrity to do their jobs. If it can be proved that any recruits cheated, they should be barred from employment with the department.
But the city will allow the recruits to re-apply with the Fire Department for future academies. If the city is certain enough that cheating took place to deny graduation, why allow recruits to re-apply? Either ban them from employment or make them retake the written test under tighter controls.
The city says the whole mess is a “personnel matter” and won’t release any findings. Nonsense. Almost three-quarters of a million dollars has gone to waste. The 14 recruits have had their names sullied. And Fire Department overtime is likely to increase in the short term because new hires won’t arrive anytime soon. The public pays the bills. This is their business. They need answers and accountability.