LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) —Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Fire Commission Tuesday ordered an independent investigation into the Los Angeles Fire Department’s recruiting and hiring process.

Garcetti has recently criticized the ethnic and gender make-up of the LAFD’s mostly white candidate pool. A recent LA Times article also found that 20 percent of the most recent recruit class of 70 new firefighters are related to current city firefighters.

The mayor said the problem pre-dated his administration, but vowed that this, and other LAFD issues, are top priorities.

“I’ve brought in a new chief, appointed a new commission and now launched this investigation to make sure we reform the department and lower response times,” Garcetti said. “This problem may have been caused before I took office, but as Mayor, I’m going to fix it.”

The investigation will be conducted by Independent Assessor Sue Stengel.

Tuesday’s actions come on the heels of a report released a day earlier that recommendeds several key changes to the department’s management.

The report recommends the agency be divided into four geographic bureaus with a head at the helm of each, as well as a five-year employment contract for the LAFD chief and a complete overhaul of the disciplinary process.

The report also recommends filling nearly 200 positions with civilian employees instead of sworn LAFD personnel.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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