The city took three times longer to process civil service exams during the most-recent fiscal year compared to the previous one, according to data contained in the Mayor’s Management Report.

During Fiscal Year 2019, which ended in June, the median amount of time between when the Department of Citywide Administrative Services administered a civil service test and established a hiring list ballooned to 255 days, according to the de Blasio administration. That’s up from a 78-day average in Fiscal Year 2018.

More Multi-Part Tests

The report stated that DCAS had anticipated the longer processing times, attributing them to an increase in multi-part exams, which were “not fully automated and therefore take significantly more time to rate than automated exams.” When tests are automated, applicants find out whether they have passed an exam immediately after they finish. But it can take 9 to 12 months for exams to be graded manually, according to DCAS’s website.

The report also revealed that last year there were 106 civil service tests administered on schedule, compared to 254 in Fiscal Year 2018. It stated that fewer exams were given because several exams were postponed or cancelled. The Plasterer test was scrapped at the request of NYC Health + Hospitals, while the Associate Quality Assurance Specialist exam was delayed to update the qualification requirements, according to DCAS.

Part of that difference was also because a significant number of Qualified Incumbent Examinations were administered in Fiscal Year 2018, while just two were offered during the most-recent year.

Additionally, the report noted that the number of New Yorkers applying for city jobs dropped almost 20 percent. DCAS received 108,728 applications for civil-service exams between July 2018 and June 2019, 19 percent fewer than during the 133,828 received during the same period a year earlier. There were also 275,663 fewer applications for posts through the NYC Jobs website than the 1,298,554 in fiscal 2018, a 21-percent decline.

Filing Ebbs and Flows

The yearly number of applicants for civil service exams has varied greatly: in Fiscal Year 2016, DCAS received just 99,241 applications, while in Fiscal Year 2017 there were 184,699. Some years, many exams were offered that drew large applicant pools such as the Firefighter test, the report noted.

What the study did not show was that even though there were fewer applications for city jobs, the number of new civil servants did not change significantly: 19,454 people were hired in Fiscal Year 2019, 213 more than during the previous year, according to DCAS. About 78 percent of new city employees were black, Latino or Asian.

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