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Civil service and labor service jobs with the City

Massachusetts Civil Service rules govern certain jobs in the City of Boston.

Applying for jobs

Apply through the state

Sworn or uniformed police and fire positions (called “Official Service”), as well as labor service positions, require you to:

  1. sign up for the job with the state first, and then
  2. apply to Boston when specific openings are available.

Sworn Boston Police and Boston Fire positions require you to take a written and physical exam. Based on the results, a list of candidates is created. The City uses this list to add classes to the police academy and the fire academy.

Labor Service jobs include:
  • painters
  • carpenters
  • electricians
  • building maintenance, and
  • many different driving jobs, from pick-up trucks and tow trucks to heavy construction vehicles.

View state Applications

After you apply

Once the state gets your completed application, they will issue you a Labor Service Number. When there is an opening for that job in Boston, you will get a letter to sign up for that job opening. The letter will include a specific time that you will be considered for the job.

Veteran preference

The list that is given to the City is done in rank order, based on the following considerations:

  1. Veterans first, starting from those who have been on that list the longest to the most recent additions.
  2. Non veterans, starting from those who have been on the list the longest to the most recent additions.

The City only considers those who respond to the letter for the specific job opening for open positions.

Rank order

Under Civil Service requirements, a department must review all applicants based on the rank order. They can interview and pick from the top qualified candidates willing to take the job.

What does this mean? If there is one opening, a department can pick from the top three people who meet the qualifications and are willing to accept the position. These candidates would have to accept the salary and shift schedule. They would also have to agree to move to Boston if they are not already residents.

Going down the list

If a department can’t find someone in the top three, they can move to candidates below the top three. But, a department must be able to justify to the state why they did not pick a person higher on the list than a candidate they want to hire.

Once a candidate is picked and approved by the state, they would complete the traditional onboarding process for City employees.

2N+1 rule

For two open positions, a department can consider the top five candidates. This is called “2N+1.” What does that mean? Before a department needs to justify picking someone lower on the list, they can review candidates equal to twice the number of openings plus one more person. So, for two open positions:

  • 2 x 2 + 1 = 5. A department can pick from the top five candidates.
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