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LONG BEACH : 23 Firefighting Recruits to Graduate Saturday

January 27, 1994|EMILY ADAMS

After suffering two years of budget cuts and a recent controversy over alleged nepotism in hiring practices, the Fire Department will have something to celebrate this weekend as it welcomes 23 recruits into its ranks.

The four women and 19 men who graduate from the department's Recruit Academy on Saturday are the first new class since November, 1990. Hard economic times have stalled hiring since then.

The class, which trained for 11 weeks, started out under a cloud of controversy after complaints that nearly one-third of those chosen for the coveted academy slots were related to firefighters or city officials. As a result, five of the original seven recruits in question were dropped from the academy roster.

More than 300 people are expected to turn out for the ceremonies at the academy, 2249 Argonne Ave., and to watch the 23 new firefighters put out a controlled fire. The city's new fire chief, Harold Omel Jr., will preside.

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