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Secretary To The Zoning Board Of Appeals Open-Competitive Exam #63-096




DATE OF EXAMINATION:       Saturday, March 05, 2016


TIME: @ 8:30 AM

APPLICATION CLOSING DATE:   February 04, 2016 @ 3:00pm – no exceptions

SALARY:                                           $32,000.00

The eligible list established from this examination will be used to fill appropriate vacancies as they occur in the City of Mount Vernon.

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Candidates must be residents of the City of Mount Vernon for not less than one year prior to the examination date.


  • A BS or BA degree in urban studies, architecture or a related field; PLUS 2 years of work experience, including secretarial experience; OR
  • Graduation from high school or possession of an equivalency diploma recognized by the New York State Education department; PLUS 4 years of the above mentioned experience; OR
  • Completion of a post high school business or secretarial course and 3 years of the above mentioned experience.

NOTE: For appointment from the resulting eligible list, applicants with a foreign high school diploma must submit a course by course evaluation of their educational credentials. You may pay the required evaluation fee. Evaluations will be accepted from services such as: WORLD EDUCATION SERVICES, INC., P.O. BOX 5087, NEW YORK,NY 10274-212-966-6311, GLOBAL LANGUAGE SERVICES, INC. 319 BROADWAY #200, NEW YORK, NY 10027, 212-227-1994, OR INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION RESEARCH FOUNDATION, INC. P.O. BOX 3665, CULVER CITY, CA., 90231.

DISTINGUISHING FEATURES OF THE CLASS: Under general supervision, performs all the administrative and clerical work and has complete charge of all the books and records of the members of the Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board and the Architectural Review Council. This work calls for confidentially and the use of independent judgment. The work involves considerable contact with the public, interdepartmental staff and members of the Board Council and Committee. Supervision is not an aspect of this position. Does related work as required.

REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES: Thorough knowledge of the principles and practices involved in community planning and development, thorough understanding of the town’s social and economic structure and the need for improvements; good knowledge of modern business procedures; good knowledge of office terminology procedures and equipment; ability to use computer applications such as spreadsheets, word processing, calendar and database software; ability to take notes at a satisfactory rate of speed where appropriate; ability to understand and carry out complex oral and written directions; ability to establish effective working relationships with other public officials, developers and members of the general public; sound judgment; honesty; integrity; accuracy; tact and courtesy and physical condition commensurate with the demands of the position.

SUBJECTS OF EXAMINATION: The written test will cover knowledge, skills and/or abilities in the following areas:

  1. Grammar/Usage/Punctuation
  2. Keyboard practices
  3. Office practices    
  4. Office record keeping
  5. Spelling

Subjects of examination: A written test designed to evaluate knowledge, skills and /or abilities in the following areas:

  1. Grammar/Usage/Punctuation – The grammar and usage questions test for the ability to apply the basic rules of grammar, usage. The punctuation questions test for a knowledge of the correct placement of punctuation marks in sentences. You will be presented with sets of four sentences from each of which you must choose the sentence that contains a grammatical, usage, or punctuation error.
  2. 2. Keyboarding practices – These questions test your knowledge of preferred practices in such areas as letter format, capitalization, hyphenation, plurals, possessives, word division, word and figure style for numbers, and common proofreading marks. In addition, you will be given a passage to proofread and followed by questions on how to correct the errors in the passage.
  3. 3. Office practices – These questions test for a knowledge of generally agreed-upon practices governing the handling of situations which typists, stenographers, secretaries and office assistants encounter in their work, as well as a knowledge of efficient and effective methods used to accomplish office tasks. The questions cover such topics as planning work flow; setting priorities; dealing effectively with staff, visitors and callers; filing and retrieving information; safeguarding confidentiality; using office equipment; and making procedures decisions and recommendations which contribute to a well-managed office.      
  4. 4. Office record keeping –These questions test your ability to perform common office record keeping tasks. The test consists of two or more “sets” of questions, each set concerning a different problem. Typical record keeping problems might involve the organization or collation of data from several sources; scheduling; maintaining a record system using running balances; or completion of a table summarizing data using totals, subtotals, averages and percents. You should bring with you a hand-held battery-or solar-powered calculator for use on this test. You will not be permitted to use the calculator function on your cell phone.
  5. Spelling – These questions test for the ability to spell words that are used in written business communications.

The New York State Department of Civil Service has not prepared a test guide for this examination. However, candidates may find information in the publication “How to take a written test” helpful in preparing for this test. This publication is available on line at:


Candidates are required to attain a final average rating of 70 in order to be eligible to have their name placed on the eligible list established as a result of this examination. Life on the list will be stated at the time the list is established.

APPLICATION FEE: A $15.00 NON-REFUNDABLE FILING FEE IS REQUIRED FOR THIS EXAMINATION FOR MOUNT VERNON RESIDENTS. The applicable fee is required and must accompany your application. If your application is received without the required fee, it will be considered incomplete and you will not be admitted to the examination. Only MONEY ORDERS will be accepted for the applications fee. The money order should be made payable to the City of Mount Vernon and be sure to write the examination number on the money order. CASH OR CHECKS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Because NO REFUND will be made, you are urged to compare your qualifications carefully with the requirements for admission.

FEE WAIVER INFORMATION: A waiver of the application fee will be allowed if you are unemployed and are primarily responsible for the support of a household. In addition, a waiver of the application fee will be allowed if you are determined eligible for Medicaid, receiving Supplemental Security Income payment, or Public Assistance. All claims for an application fee waiver are subject to verification. If you can verify eligibility for the application fee waiver, you must complete a “Request for Application Fee Waiver” form. This form is available in the Civil Service Office. You must submit the completed fee waiver form with your completed application.

Applications are available in the Mount Vernon Municipal Civil Service Commission Office Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM or send a self-addressed, legal-sized envelope to the Civil Service Commission, Room 103 – City Hall, One Roosevelt Square, Mount Vernon, NY 10550. Applicants may also obtain applications from the City of Mount Vernon’s website at All applications must be returned to the Civil Service Commission Office on or before the application deadline date.

 Applications received via mail will not be accepted if postmarked after the closing date deadline of February 4, 2016.

RELIGIOUS OBSERVERS AND DISABLED PERSONS: If special arrangements for testing are required, please indicate this on your application and submit on a separate sheet of paper and attach it to your application at time of submission. You will be notified of the alternate test date which will take place in City Hall.

ALTERNATE TEST DATE POLICY: Alternate test(s) date(s) may be arranged upon review of the circumstances according to the alternate Test Date Policy adopted April 14, 2008 by the Civil Service Commission. Under specific circumstances an alternate test date may be arranged. Your request with written documentation must be received in the Mt. Vernon Civil Service office no later than two (2) weeks preceding the examination. If an emergency prevents you from appearing for the examination, please notify the Civil Service office in writing no later than the Friday before the test date and provide verifiable documentation of the reason. A determination will be made as to if an alternate test date will be scheduled.

It is the responsibility of the candidate to notify the Civil Service Office of any change in name or address.

No attempt will be made to locate candidates who have moved.



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