Civil Service

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about the Civil Service department. If the information you need is not addressed here, please contact us during our business hours.

Most exams are held at the Town of Colonie Memorial Town Hall. Exams usually begin at 9AM on Saturday.

You can find current exam announcements in the List of Exam Announcements.

The processing fees for each exam fluctuate depending on what type of exam and the salary offered on the exam announcement. You need to be sure you meet the minimum qualifications listed on the announcement. The processing fee is non-refundable.

Most jobs in local government fall under the Civil Service System. A "Civil Service" employee can be anyone from a deputy sheriff, secretary, registered nurse, mechanic, attorney, accountant, laborer, etc. Different jobs have different requirements.

Some positions require that you take a test to be considered for a permanent job. These are called competitive positions. For competitive positions when there is no list of tested applicants, a person may be appointed "provisional" (temporarily) until the results of the next test are established. The provisional employee must score high enough to be permanently appointed or else be removed from the job.

If you apply for more than one Civil Service exam, you must complete one application for each exam you wish to take. Most exams require that you pay an application processing fee. Only checks or money orders are acceptable for payment. Payment must accompany your application. In some cases, the fee is waived because of financial hardship. Check the exam announcement and the last page of the application for details. If you have applied for one or more examinations offered by the Town of Colonie, New York State or another County Civil Service Commission on the same date, you must complete a cross filer form, which is available in the link on this web site. You do not need to fill out this form if you are taking multiple exams with one agency.

Applications for examinations are reviewed after the application deadline. Applicants who do not submit sufficient information to make a decision will be sent a letter and given one week to respond with additional information. Applicants who do not meet the qualification are notified by mail and are given one week to respond with additional information. Individuals that meet the minimum qualifications are notified by mail at least one week prior to the test date of the test location and other instructions.

You can find out what areas each test will cover from the exam announcement under the heading "Scope of Examination". Announcements are distributed approximately four (4) weeks prior to the closing date for filing an application. Exam announcements are available at the Town of Colonie Memorial Town Hall, William K. Sanford Town Library, Colonie Youth Center on Central Avenue, or on this web site.

In most cases, neither NYS nor Town of Colonie provides nor recommends any study materials. 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. New York State does provide some study guides for a few specific exams. Some are available on this website while others can be accessed at

Some exam questions are open to review on the Saturday after the test is held. You must request this review at the test site when you finish your exam. You will be able to see the questions and answers, but not your test paper. After you receive your grade, you can request a computational review. You will be able to review a copy of your answer paper and the answer key, but not the actual questions. This review is normally held about two months after you receive your grade.

Most test results are received from the NYS Civil Service Department approximately two (2) months after a test. You will be notified by mail of your score and placed on the eligible list. Only those with a score of seventy (70) or above are included on eligible lists.

Most positions/tests have a 4 month Town of Colonie residency requirement. Certain positions require that you be a resident of a contiguous county. All residency requirements are noted on the examination announcement.

If you obtain the highest score you may be considered for the position, but having the highest score does not guarantee that you will be hired. The canvass and the interview are equally important parts of the selection process. If you are interested, return your canvass letter promptly or within the specified time period, and if you are invited for an interview, do your best to make a good impression. The interview is also an opportunity for you to learn if this is the job for you.

An eligible list is a list of candidates who have passed an examination for a particular title ranked according to their test scores, from highest to lowest. The higher your score, the better your chances for getting a position. When a department has an opening for a “competitive” position (one that requires passing an examination), they request a list of eligible candidates who have passed the appropriate examination for the position. We then send out canvass letters to those on the list to determine who is interested in the type of appointment available. Only those who reply within the specified time period, and say they are interested, and who are reachable (within the Rule of Three) may be appointed. As the list is used to hire, and as candidates on the list indicate they are not interested in a position, departments make their way down the list in score/rank order.

An eligible list will be in existence for a minimum of 1 year, and may last up to 4 years. However, most eligible lists will be superseded by the establishment of a new eligible list prior to the 4 year time period. It is your responsibility to keep in touch with the Town of Colonie Civil Service Department on a continuous basis to keep apprised of upcoming examinations.

Open competitive exams are open to the public, while promotion exams are open only to employees indicated on the announcement. Promotion eligible lists are certified to fill vacancies in the department before open competitive lists are certified.

There are some types of positions that have no test requirements. Exempt positions are those where the employer decides the qualifications of the applicants and chooses the person they want to hire. The process is similar to that found in private industry. Non-Competitive positions have specific education and experience requirements that you must meet. Employers choose from among the qualified people who apply. Labor positions have no requirements. Employers may choose anyone for these jobs. However, they frequently select individuals with the best work record.

Notify this office immediately, preferably by using the change of address notification form available on this web site, of any change of name and/or address/phone contact. It is your responsibility to keep this information current. List all exams and eligible lists that need to be updated.

Pursuant to resolution #583 adopted by the Colonie Town Board on December 3, 2015, the Town is now mandated to collect a $20.00 fee for any returned check.


Memorial Town Hall
Second Floor
534 New Loudon Road
Latham, NY 12110

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