No new hires until FDNY creates new exam that doesn't discriminate

The below intern blog is a commentary on the need for a new FDNY exam that doesn’t discriminate, based on article that can be found below the commentary.

When it comes to safety, race should not be an issue. I for sure think that if I am even in danger I won’t be waiting around for a white fire fighter to come and rescue me. If this exam shows any type of racist evaluations then it must be changed accordingly right away, however the city should not stop hiring these fire fighters if the city is in need of them. The citizen’s safety should always be a priority. This exam should have been overseen long ago and no racial discrimination should have ever been accepted, especially when these men and women put their lives at risk constantly to serve the community.

Judge: No new hires until FDNY creates new exam that doesn’t discriminate

By John Marzulli

Originally Published:Tuesday, October 19th 2010, 4:55 PM
Updated: Tuesday, October 19th 2010, 4:55 PM

A judge issued a permanent injunction Tuesday barring the city from hiring firefighters until it creates a new written exam that doesn’t discriminate against minorities.

Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis left open a loophole, however, saying the city can still hire rookies from the invalidated test if the court signs off on the method.

City Hall lawyers earlier had agreed to use an interim hiring method but reversed course last month and told the judge his options amounted to racial quotas – and were unacceptable.

A new test that passes muster with the Justice Department and the judge probably won’t be ready until next summer.

“The city gave hope to candidates who took Exam 6019, only to capriciously dash that hope,” Garaufis wrote in an order. “While the court is dismayed by the city’s apparent duplicity and lack of good faith, it is not entirely surprised.”

The city had announced in June a plan to hire 300 probationary firefighters to meet immediate staffing needs, arguing that any delay would “impair public safety,” according to court documents. But Garaufis ruled that Exam 6019 discriminated against blacks and Hispanics just as he concluded about two previous written exams.

The city now insists it no longer needs to hire firefighters for reasons of public safety, the judge noted.

“The mayor and the fire commissioner owe these candidates an apology,” said lawyer Darius Charney of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents the Vulcan Society of black firefighters.

“The city has completely switched its position from saying it needed to hire firefighters to apparently they don’t need to hire anybody at least for a while.”

But the Law Department’s top labor lawyer fired back, saying the judge had mischaracterized the city’s position. “The city never supported any proposal that involved a quota,” Georgia Pestana said in a statement.

“At an earlier litigation stage, the city was ordered to suggest alternative hiring methods assuming that hiring would be allowed from the exam list,” Pestana added. “The city had no option but to comply with the order…and expressly reserved its right to appeal.”

In response to a lawsuit filed by the feds, Garaufis ruled last year that there were “overwhelming disparities” in the pass-fail rates between whites and minorities for exams given in 1999 and 2002 which violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The judge has not yet ruled on the amount of monetary damages that minority candidates — those whose hiring by the FDNY was delayed by their test results and others not hired at all — should receive from the city.



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