Examination – Communications Specialist Open-Competitive Exam #69-348





PLACE OF EXAMINATION:     AB Davis Middle SchoolMount Vernon, New York @ 8:30 A.M.

APPLICATION CLOSING DATE:   AUGUST 10, 2016 at 3:00pm –no exceptions

SALARY RANGE:            $39,409.00 – $57,353.77

This list will be used to fill vacancies as they occur in the City of Mount Vernon Police Department.

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Candidates must be a resident of the City of Mt. Vernon for not less than one year immediately preceding the date of the written examination.


  • Graduation from high school or possession of an equivalency diploma issued by the New York State Education Department; PLUS                                                          
  • One year of experience in a full time paid position in an office environment which shall have included operation of a computer.


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 must 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, GLOBE 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.


  • Acceptable hearing; 500-2,000 Hertz (cycles per second), Max loss 45 db; 600 db Max loss at 3,000 hz.
  • Fingerprinting of both hands.
  • Psychological/psychiatric examination to determine the applicant’s proclivity to remain calm during stressful situations, and his/her ability to function in an emergency.

This position will require an 8 hour workday and 3 rotating shifts, namely; (1) 8 am to 4 pm; (2) 4 pm to Midnight and (3) Midnight to 8 am.

DUTIES: This position involves responsibility for receiving, relaying and recording Police Department communications and for dispatching Police and other emergency units as required. The incumbent also receives, records and files all incidents and complaints received at Police Headquarters and transmits and receives data through the New York State Police Information Network System (NYSZPIN) in accordance with department policy and procedures. The work is performed under the general supervision of uniformed personnel. Does related work as required.

REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES: Good knowledge of the operation of a two-way radio, telephone equipment teletype/NYSPIN codes, abbreviations and formats; good knowledge of the geography of the City; good knowledge of business English; ability to operate teletype and computer terminals in the transmission and receipt of messages; ability to prepare accurate and concise messages and reports; ability to maintain records and files; ability to speak clearly and distinctly; ability to perform calmly and efficiently in emergency situations; ability to write legibly; good hearing; good clearly aptitude, tact and courtesy; ability to work well with others and physical condition commensurate with the demands of the positions.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

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

                                    1) CODING/DECODING INFORMATION;

2) FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS (MAPS);                                          





  • CODING/DECODING INFORMATION – These questions test for the ability to follow a set of coding rules.

Some questions will require you to code information by converting certain information into letters and numbers.

Only questions will require you to decode information by determining if the information that has already been

converted into letters or numbers is correct. Complete directions will be provided; no previous knowledge of or

training in any coding system is required. 

  • FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS (MAPS) – These questions test your ability to follow physical/geographic directions using street maps or building maps. You will have to read and understand a set of directions and then use them on a simple map.  

RETAINING AND COMPREHENDING SPOKEN INFORMATION FROM CALLS FOR EMERGENCY SERVICES –                                                                                                                                                              These questions test for your ability to retain specific information that is heard in calls for emergency service, such as a street address, or to comprehend spoken information from emergency service calls, such as determining the location of a site in relation to landmarks. Simulated 911 calls will be played on audio CD. Immediately following each call, candidates are given audio instructions identifying which questions they are to answer within the test booklet. The questions that candidates are directed to answer for each simulated call will not be in sequential order. Candidates will need to retain and comprehend the information and instruction provided in this portion of the test to respond appropriately to the questions asked and to determine which questions to answer. The time allotted to answer these questions will be limited. At the end of each answer period, the CS will automatically play the next call. Note paper will be provided. Candidates will be permitted to take notes and to refer to them when answering the questions.

  • NAME AND NUMBER CHECKING – These questions test for the ability to distinguish between sets of words, letters, and/or numbers that are almost alike. Material is usually presented in two or three columns, and you will have to determine how the entry in the first column compares with the entry in the second column and possibly the third. You will be instructed to mark your answers according to a designed code provided in the directions.
  • UNDERSTANDING AND INTERPRETING WRITTEN MATERIAL – These questions test how well you comprehend written material. You will be provided with brief reading selections and will be asked questions about the selections. All the information required to answer the questions will be presented in the selections; you will not be required to have any special knowledge relating to the subject areas of the selections.        

The listening test (LT) is held on the same day as the written test, September 10, 2016. The PTM911 is a performance test held only for individuals who pass the written test.

PERFORMANCE TEST: A performance test will also be held at a later date, to be announced. The written test will be a ranking test and the performance test will be a qualifying (pass/fail) test. You must pass both the written and performance tests to be considered for appointment. You will not be called to the performance test unless you have passed the written test. Since the performance test is qualifying (pass/fail), if you pass the performance test your final score for the examination will be the same score that you achieve on the written test. Candidates may be invited to the performance test in the order of the scores they achieve on the written test. The City reserves the right to give the performance test to only as many candidates as are needed to fill available vacancies. The test will be administered on a conventional personal computer (PC). You will be using a conventional (PC) keyboard, but you will not be using a mouse.

The test consists of three parts, each preceded by a separate practice session. It will test your ability to enter the kinds of information that dispatchers and related personnel must process for fire, police and emergency medical services. You will not need any specific information prior to the test; rather, complete onscreen instructions will tell you all you need to know in order to take the test. In order to pass, you must enter the data at a rate of 6,000 keystrokes per hour (which is equal to typing approximately 20 words per minute), with an accuracy rate of at least 97.5%. Candidates who fail the performance test will be permitted a retest, which may be given on the same day as the original performance test.

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: www.cs.ny.gov/testing/localtestguides.cfm


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 www.cmvny.com. All applications must be returned to the Civil Service Commission Office on or before the application deadline date.

For applications go to the Civil Service Office Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm or send a stamped self-addressed, legal-sized envelope to the Civil Service Commission, Room 103, City Hall, 1 Roosevelt Square, Mt. Vernon, New York 10550. You may also obtain applications from our website @www.cmvny.com. ALL APPLICATIONS MUST BE RETURNED TO THE CIVIL SERVICE OFFICE WITH YOUR FILING FEE. Applications received via mail will not be accepted if postmarked after the closing date deadline of August 10, 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.

In conformance with Section 85-a of the Civil Service Law, children of firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty shall be entitled to receive an ADDITIONAL TEN (10) POINTS in a competitive examination for original appointment in the same municipality in which his/her parent has served. If you are qualified to participate in this examination and are a child of a firefighter or police officer killed in the line of duty IN THIS MUNICIPALITY, PLEASE INFORM THIS OFFICE OF THIS MATTER WHEN YOU SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION FOR EXAMINATION. A candidate claiming such credit has a minimum of two (2) months from the application deadline to provide the necessary documentation to verify additional credit eligibility. However, no credit may be added after the eligible list has been established.

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.

APPLYING FOR CIVIL SERVICE EXAMS IN MULTIPLE JURISDICTIONS WHEN EXAMS ARE SCHEDULED ON THE SAME DATE: If you have applied for any other Civil Service Exams for employment with New York State or any other local government jurisdiction, you must make arrangements to take all the exams at one test site. If you have applied for both State and Local government exams, you must make arrangements to take all your exams at the State exam center by calling the State to make the arrangements, no later than two weeks before the test date.

SPECIAL REQUEST FOR MAKE UP EXAM DUE TO MILITARY DUTY: A make-up test will be available for written or any other portion of the test for persons who are in the activity military. A person eligible for military make-up test does not have to wait until discharge from active duty to take the test. Applicant must submit to this office a copy of a military order, DD214, or any other military document that substantiates active military service prior to the make-up test.

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.