A Navy SEAL rejected by the Fire Department of New York because of his age will now get the chance to join its ranks, thanks to a new measure passed by state lawmakers.
Shaun Donovan — a 38-year-old active Navy SEAL who was turned down by the FDNY earlier this year — will receive an offer from the department, according to Jim Long, its director of public information.
Under the FDNY’s policy at the time Donovan applied, military veterans were able to deduct up to six years off their current age to meet the age requirement of 29, depending on how long they had served. The department rejected Donovan because he was about six months older than the maximum age allowed when he applied in 2017.
The bill that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed on Monday allows veterans to deduct up to seven years of military service from their age at the time of their application for public service positions.
“He’ll be presented with an offer due to his performance on the written and physical exams,” Long told CNN. “If he accepts, he’ll have to go through the next steps, which include a background check, medical, physical and psychological testing as well.”
Cuomo signed a total of 14 bills aimed at protecting the rights of active duty military members and veterans in a number of areas. “Our veterans put their lives on the line to defend our nation, and we must honor them and support them just as they supported us,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Donovan, who served four combat tours as a Navy SEAL, made headlines earlier this year following his rejection by the FDNY.
Though he grew up in Tucson, Arizona, his family was originally from Staten Island and always spoke of it, according to his attorney Kevin Carroll.
Donovan scored in the top 1% of applicants for the FDNY and also passed the physical exam, according to his attorney.
Long said that the initial decision to reject Donovan had nothing to do with his military status. “We love the military, we love the veterans,” he said. “But what if we hired him even though he was too old and someone else missed out on the opportunity. Wouldn’t that be problematic?”
Donovan and his attorney appealed the decision to the FDNY and then to the city’s Civil Service Commission. That appeal was still pending when the new law passed, according to Carroll.
Now that a job with the FDNY is on the table, Donovan plans on taking the next steps to become a firefighter in his family’s old home town.
“He’s doing great,” Carroll told CNN. “It’s been his dream to be a New York City fireman.”
Donovan is currently on active duty in California and hopes to retire from the Navy in 2020 to report to the fire academy in New York, Carroll said.