Frequently Asked Questions

A. APPLYING FOR AN EXAM


B. AFTER YOU TAKE AN EXAM


C. TYPES OF EXAMINATIONS


D. VETERAN'S AND SENIORITY CREDITS


E. BECOMING A CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEE



A. APPLYING FOR AN EXAM

Do I have to be a Broome County resident to take a civil service examination?

For most positions, there are no residency requirements to participate in an examination, but preference in appointment may be given to eligible candidates who have been residents of the appointing jurisdiction at the time of examination. There are some positions that do require residency. The examination announcement will indicate such a requirement under the "Residency" section.

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Who uses Broome County Civil Service eligible lists?

Lists of eligible job candidates established by the Broome County Department of Personnel are used to fill vacancies in competitive titles used by the County of Broome, as well as local jurisdictions throughout Broome County. The local jurisdictions that use lists established by the Broome County Department of Personnel are all towns and villages, school districts and special districts.
Broome County civil service eligible lists are not used to fill vacancies for the City of Binghamton or its school district. The City of Binghamton has its own Civil Service Commission.

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What is an appointing authority?

An appointing authority refers to the unit of government that is the hiring authority, i.e. the County of Broome, each town, village, school district and special district within the County.

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What is a "local" jurisdiction?

The term "local" jurisdiction refers to any one of the following appointing authorities over which the Broome County Department of Personnel has civil service responsibility:

                  All towns, villages, school districts and special districts (except the City of Binghamton and its school district) within the borders of Broome County.

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How can I tell when a particular test will be given by the County?

Not all examinations are held on an annual basis. Examinations are prepared and scheduled by the New York State Civil Service Commission. The Broome County Department of Personnel requests examinations based on the number of positions, the length of the current eligible list, the age of the list, and the turnover of employees within the title. Eligible lists are valid for a minimum of one year from the date of establishment and can be valid for up to four years at the discretion of the Personnel Officer. Eligible lists can not be extended beyond four years. There are over four hundred County and local jurisdiction titles. To find out if a specific examination is being offered, check on the schedule of Civil Service Examinations.

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How can I obtain information on particular civil service examinations?

Announcements for Broome County civil service examinations are available on the Broome County web site. Printed copies are also posted in all county and municipal buildings, and local libraries.
The Broome County Application for Examination is available in the Broome County Department of Personnel, Third Floor of the County Office Building, Binghamton, New York, 13902 or may be downloaded from our web site. This is now a PDF fillable form which will allow you to fill out the form online and print it. You will not be able to save the document.

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Is there an application fee?

There is a $ 20.00 processing fee for each open-competitive examination; ($30.00 for uniform services examinations).

This fee is non-refundable. Send a check or money order payable to the "Broome County Office of Management and Budget (BCOMB)". Cash will not be accepted. We are now accepting credit card payments in office only. Please note that there is a processing fee for using a credit card.

 Candidates meeting the following criteria may have the fee waived:

  • currently unemployed and primarily responsible for support of a household NOTE: Individuals who can be claimed as a dependent on any other person's tax return ARE NOT eligible for application fee waiver as head of household.
  • currently eligible for Medicaid
  • currently receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments
  • currently receiving Public Assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families/Family Assistance or Safety Net Assistance):
  • currently Certified Job Training Partnership Act/Workforce Investment Act eligible through a State or local social service agency

All claims for application fee waivers are subject to verification. Fee waiver forms are available at the Broome County Department of Personnel, the Department of Social Services, or online at www.gobroomecounty.com. The fee waiver form must be sumbmitted with the Application for Examination.

Can I take more than one examination on a test date?

The New York State Civil Service Commission prepares the examinations in such a manner that you can participate in more than one examination on the same day. All examinations for which you have been approved must be taken on the same day at the same testing center.

Be sure to submit the Crossfiling Form with your application and indicate that you are filing for more than one examination and at which site you wish to take your examinations.

  • You must submit a Crossfiling Form with your application if you want to take one or more test(s) for multiple jurisdictions at one test site (i.e. taking a Tioga County test in Broome County or a Broome County test in Onondaga). 
  • If you are applying for both a State and local government examination, you must make arrangements to take all your examinations at the State site by calling 518.457.6470 or 1-877-6470 (press 2, then press 1) no later than two weeks before the test date. A Crossfiling Form should also be submitted with your application.  

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Is the experience required in the minimum qualifications always full time?

Unless specifically stated otherwise, the number of years of experience in the minimum qualifications is based upon the presumption of full-time paid employment. Full-time employment is defined as 32+ hours per week. Appropriate part-time experience may be pro-rated. No credit is given for experience totaling less than 8 hours per week.

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Must I file an official college transcript with my examination application?

An official transcript is not required unless noted on the announcement. A transcript should be submitted if the minimum qualifications specify the need for a certain number of credits in a certain field.

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Where are the exams held?

The Broome County Department of Personnel usually holds its examinations at Johnson City High School. However, the site for your particular examination will be printed on your admission letter. To find directions to a specific site, see Directions to Exam Sites.

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Are study materials available?

Test Guides published by the New York State Department of Civil Service are usually targeted to specific, entry-level occupations such as Police Officer, Firefighter, Correction Officer, and Entry Level Clerical. Test Guides are not provided for every examination. All available study guides can be found at  http://www.cs.ny.gov/testing/localtestguides.cfm.  If a Test Guide is provided for an examination, information about the guide will appear on the examination announcement.

However, when preparing for an examination, the most important document that should carefully be read is the announcement itself. Pay close attention to the "Subjects of Examination" section of the announcement for information on the test type and content of the examination. Candidates should focus their examination preparation upon the information given in the examination announcement. In addition, you can find general information at the following New York State Department of Civil Service website: http://www.cs.ny.gov/jobseeker/local/.

The New York State Department of Civil Service neither provides nor recommends any other study materials. Although some materials may be available through public libraries, public employee unions and private publishers, we can make no comment on the quality or usefulness of such materials.

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What are "special testing arrangements"?

"Special arrangements" refer to requests for examination assistance with regard to scheduling or specialized testing needs. Candidates who meet the alternate test date  criteria should provide the appropriate documentation with the exam application. Those candidates who require specialized assistance should submit the appropriate documentation detailing the assistance needed.
Candidates who are observers of the Saturday Sabbath must file the Religious Accomodation Form.

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When will I get my admission notice?

Admission notices are mailed to candidates approximately eight calendar days prior to the exam date. If you do not receive an admission notice by Tuesday before the examination, you should call 607.778.2222. It is the candidate's responsibility to call prior to the exam date.

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Are examinations ever cancelled?

As the New York State Civil Service Commission schedules examinations on a statewide basis, it is very rare for one to be cancelled for any reason. Examinations will be held as scheduled unless a State of Emergency is declared for Broome County.

Any change or cancellation notices are broadcast on local radio and TV stations, and if possible, on the Broome County Department of Personnel web site.

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B. AFTER YOU TAKE AN EXAM

How can I review my test?

Some exam questions are open to review on the Saturday after the test is held. This is called "pre-rate review" and you must request this review at the test site when you finish your examination. You will be able to see the questions and the tentative answers, but not your answer sheet. This is the forum in which to challenge what you may consider to be an inappropriate question and/or answer.
After you receive your score, you may request a computational review, in which you will be able to review a copy of your answer sheet and the final answer key, but not the test questions.

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How long does it take to establish a list after I take a test?

The New York State Civil Service Commission scores examinations. Eligible lists are established, on average, three months after the examination date.

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C. TYPES OF EXAMINATIONS

What is the difference between open-competitive and promotional examinations?

Open-competitive examinations can be taken by any individual who demonstrates that they meet the minimum educational and experience qualifications cited on the examination announcement.
Promotional examinations are restricted to current employees of the participating appointing authority who meet the service requirement and minimum qualifications as cited on the announcement.
It is possible for current employees to take an examination both open-competitively and promotionally, and appear on both lists if they pass the examination. Promotional eligible lists are certified before open-competitive eligible lists.

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What does Continuous Recruitment mean?

Continuous recruitment refers to those examinations for which applications are accepted on a continuous basis, i.e., there is no deadline by when an application must be received. The scores for these examinations are inter-filed with existing candidate scores to form a constantly changing eligible list. Your name remains on the list for one year.

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What is a Training and Experience examination?

A Training and Experience examination is a method of testing whereby a candidate receives a test score based on the information contained in the submitted application. The score is weighted between education (training) and experience.

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D. VETERAN'S AND SENIORITY CREDITS

What are seniority points?

Civil Service Law requires that due consideration be given to seniority for candidates who are permanent employees of the participating appointing authority. Seniority points are added to passing scores only. One point is credited for each creditable five-year period or fraction thereof.

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What are veteran's credits?

In accordance with New York State Law, veterans of the armed forces, as defined by New York State, are entitled to additional points to be added to a passing score. Definitions of who is recognized as a veteran may be found in the Veteran's Information Section.

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E. BECOMING A CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEE

How is my examination scored?

The New York State Civil Service Commission designs, prepares and scores the civil service examinations used by the Broome County Department of Personnel.
Effective June 1996, the New York State Civil Service Commission expanded the use of a scoring methodology called band scoring. Band scoring facilitates the assessment of candidate performance on written tests in a more realistic manner than the traditional individualized scoring formulas and is used for both open-competitive and promotional examinations.
In band scoring methodology for open-competitive examinations, the number of correct answers (the raw score) determines which band is applied for a final score. An individual band scoring table is prepared for each examination. Veteran's credits are added after the band has been applied. A candidate does not move from pass to fail or from fail to pass as a result of band scoring.
The following represents the typical scoring formula used in promotional examinations:

Passed Candidates:

  • Number of questions you answered correctly. This is your Raw Score: ______
  • Seniority Credits to which your are entitled: ______
  • Seniority Credits + Raw Score between _____ and _____
  • Final Score Is: _____
  • Veteran's Credits to which you are entitled: ______
  • List Score Is: ______

Failed Candidates:

  • Number of questions you answered correctly. This is your Raw Score: ______
  • Raw Score _____ and BELOW Final Score is FAILED

As previously stated, neither seniority points nor veteran's credits can be used to enhance a failing score.

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Do I have to be a United States citizen in order to be employed in civil service?

Unless otherwise stated on the examination announcement or job specification, you do not have to be a citizen. You must be legally able to work in the United States.

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What is the "rule of three"?

All candidates at the highest score are immediately eligible for consideration for appointment. Candidates at lower scores can be considered only when there are fewer than 3 candidates at higher scores.

Any candidate's eligibility for appointment depends not only on his or her rank (all eligibles who received the same score are equally ranked) but also how many other candidates are tied at that and higher level ranks. The following two examples illustrate how this might work:

Example One:
ScoreNumber of candidates at this scoreRank of candidates
10011
9512
9013
In this case all three candidates at all three scores and ranks are equally eligible to be appointed. People may use the word 'reachable' to describe this.

 

Example Two:
ScoreNumber of candidates at this scoreRank of all candidates at this score
100101
951011
901021
In this case, only the ten candidates at score 100 and rank 1 are eligible for appointment. If, however, through hiring or declinations the number of candidates at 100 is reduced to 2, then all 10 candidates at the score 95 (rank 11) can also be considered. Only if there were only 2 or fewer candidates at the scores of 100 and 95 (ranks 1 and 11) can any of the 10 candidates at the 90 score be considered.

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How long does an eligible list stay in existence?

In accordance with the New York State Civil Service Law, an eligible list must remain in existence for one year from the date of its establishment or until there are no candidates left who are willing to accept appointment, whichever occurs first. The Department of Personnel may extend "the life" of the list beyond one year to a maximum of four years.
A new examination in the title may be requested and held at any time during the life of an existing eligible list. It is the responsibility of the candidate on the existing list to keep abreast of the examination schedule and to apply for and participate in the new examination.
At the time of establishment of the new list, a decision is made on whether or not to allow the existing list (over one year of age) to continue or to replace it with the new list. When the "old" list is continued, the new list "supplements" the old list until a predetermined date. The old list is used first.

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What is a probationary appointment?

The probationary period is a time when new employees must prove themselves capable of doing the job for which they were hired. The probationary term for an open-competitive examination is not less than eight (8) weeks, nor more than fifty-two (52) weeks. The probationary term for a promotional examination is twelve (12) weeks. There are some positions, such as Deputy Sheriffs and Police Officers for which the probationary period is not less than twelve weeks nor more than seventy-eight (78) weeks.

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What is a provisional appointment?

A provisional appointment is a temporary appointment to a competitive class position for which no eligible list currently exists or for which an eligible list exists with fewer than three candidates who are willing to accept the position being offered. To become permanent, the employee who is provisionally appointed must take the next examination for the position in question. The appointment to the position is then made from among the three highest scoring candidates who indicate their willingness to accept the position. The provisional appointee must be among the top three interested candidates to be appointed.

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What happens if I change my address?

The Broome County Department of Personnel will not accept any change of address information if it has not been provided on a Candidate Change of Address Form.

Candidates are responsible for notifying this Department of a change of address. Do not depend on the postal service to forward your mail in sufficient time to respond to a canvass letter for a position.

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