On November 11, 2019, the New York Post reported that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill extending the window for active military members to qualify as NYC firefighter candidates by one year. One of the beneficiaries of this move was Special Operations Chief Shaun Donovan, who served four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and earned medals for valor.
Donovan could not come to New York for the firefighter exam in 2018 while assigned to the Naval Special Warfare Basic Training Command, and asked the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) for permission to take a make-up test. DCAS approved the request and Donovan took the written firefighter exam on which he scored in the top 1 percent of 43,900 candidates as well as the Candidate Physical Ability Test that he also passed. In February, an FDNY background investigator told Donovan he did not qualify because of his age, as candidates cannot reach 29 years of by the start of the application period, even though six additional years are allowed for individuals serving in the military.
Time Limits for Veterans
Donovan was six months and 25 days over the limit. FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer said three other candidates passed over because of their age would also be eligible now.
Donovan told the Post that he was humbled to be able to now have the chance to be a part of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). He said he looked forward to doing his part to keep people and property in New York City safe.
Dwyer also said that over 1,300 of the more than 17,000 current FDNY members are veterans or military reservists. Mindy Franklin Levine, the wife of New York Yankees president Randy Levine and a volunteer for veteran groups, told the Post that the legislation passed in New York was intended to send a message to veterans that they are welcome in the workplace and military service should not be seen as a barrier to employment in the private sector once military service has concluded.
Other Bills for Veterans
Donovan had appealed his case to the Civil Service Commission and was considering filing a lawsuit before the legislation was signed by Governor Cuomo. The fire commissioner had denied his previous appeal because the age requirement was a civil service law not subject to interpretation.
The additional time granted to veterans was actually just one of multiple bills friendly to veterans that were signed into law by Governor Cuomo. He also signed a bill creating a study of homeless veterans across the state as well as another bill extending a program allowing veterans who did not complete high school to complete their courses and earn diplomas.
Brandon Webb is a former U.S. Navy SEAL, Sniper, and finished his time in the Navy as the Naval Special Warfare Sniper Course Manager. A passionate Entrepreneur (SOFREP.com & Crateclub.us) and a New York Times bestselling author. He is a member of YPO New York City and, Harvard Business School OPM 56.