Judge approves FDNY test - New York News

Judge approves FDNY test

Posted: Updated:

By COLLEEN LONG | Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The federal judge overseeing the effort to diversify the Fire Department of New York approved a new entrance exam Friday that will allow the nation's largest fire department to hire new firefighters for the first time in five years.

Judge Nicholas Garaufis found that the department's most recent test did not discriminate against minorities. The decision comes after years of court fights and strongly-worded opinions from the judge, who called the FDNY "a stubborn bastion of white male privilege."

The city and fire department lauded the approval of the test and say they expect more minorities on the job. The department is down about 650 firefighters since 2007 -- the last time a new class was hired. Garaufis had ruled that earlier entrance exams were discriminatory and ordered the city to create a new one, and he barred any new hiring until the process was complete.

He also took the unusual step of appointing an independent monitor to oversee the recruitment, testing and hiring of new firefighters for at least 10 years after concluding the city had failed to ensure that enough minorities were part of the department.

Just about 10 percent of the more than 10,000 uniformed firefighters are black or Hispanic, even though more than half of the city's 8 million residents identify with a racial minority group.

Work on the new test and a major push to recruit minority candidates has been going on for years. Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano separately created a high-ranking position within the FDNY to oversee and strengthen the department's minority recruitment and diversity programs.

City officials said more than 40 percent of the 9,400 top scorers on the new test -- the most likely to become firefighters -- are minorities. Overall, about 42,000 prospective candidates took the test and about 40,000 passed, and a record number of minorities took it.

It's not clear yet when the class will be hired -- exam results will be published next week, and then a physical exam must be administered.

"The FDNY's strong commitment to diversity was evident in our recruitment campaign for this exam," Cassano said in a statement. "We're pleased that we can now begin hiring."

The federal court became involved after a black fraternal FDNY organization called the Vulcan Society filed a U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission complaint more than a decade ago charging the exam given to FDNY applicants was littered with SAT-like questions that didn't adequately test for firefighting skills.

The exam is the weightiest factor in determining whether a candidate gets on a hiring list; a physical test and a few other components also play a role.

The U.S. Department of Justice took up the case and filed a federal lawsuit, and Garaufis ruled in 2009 in favor of the Vulcan Society and the Justice Department. In a separate decision, he said the test was being used to discriminate intentionally and called it a "stain" on an otherwise sterling department.

The Vulcan Society and Justice Department filed papers this week saying they didn't oppose the new test.

Chicago's 4,300-member fire department, the nation's second largest, is 20 percent black and 8 percent Hispanic, reflecting the city's general demographic makeup. But a federal appeals court in May 2011 ruled a 1995 test was discriminatory, and the city has to hire 111 black firefighters and pay millions of dollars to thousands more who took and passed the same test.

In Los Angeles, about 14 percent of the 3,500 or so firefighters are black, and about 30 percent are Hispanic.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • NY brothers invent machine that makes CPR easier

    NY brothers invent machine that makes CPR easier

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:40 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:40:57 GMT
    Only 10 percent of people who get CPR from a bystander actually survive. But two young men in Westchester County have now patented a device that could dramatically increase those odds and save lives. John and Chris DiCapua's sitting room in their parents' Westchester County home has had a unique guest lying around for quite a while now: a CPR dummy. What began as an idea from their time as Boy Scouts is now a device that could potentially save lives.
    Only 10 percent of people who get CPR from a bystander actually survive. But two young men in Westchester County have now patented a device that could dramatically increase those odds and save lives. John and Chris DiCapua's sitting room in their parents' Westchester County home has had a unique guest lying around for quite a while now: a CPR dummy. What began as an idea from their time as Boy Scouts is now a device that could potentially save lives.
  • NYC stores with no signs feed curiosity

    NYC stores with no signs feed curiosity

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:31 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:31:37 GMT
    From coffee shops in Brooklyn to restaurants in Manhattan, we find speakeasies standing out by blending in. When people in Bushwick want a green machine juice blend they visit Leticia Castillo's Owl Juice Pub. But first they must find the owl. "We been doing fine without a sign," Castillo says.
    From coffee shops in Brooklyn to restaurants in Manhattan, we find speakeasies standing out by blending in. When people in Bushwick want a green machine juice blend they visit Leticia Castillo's Owl Juice Pub. But first they must find the owl. "We been doing fine without a sign," Castillo says.
  • Ex-Councilman Halloran quickly convicted in bribery plot

    Ex-Councilman Halloran quickly convicted in bribery plot

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:53 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:53:04 GMT
    A jury took only about 90 minutes Tuesday to convict former New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran of bribery charges in a scheme to buy a spot on the mayoral ballot for state Sen. Malcolm Smith. Halloran was also found guilty of taking payoffs from what he thought were developers who wanted him to funnel city money their way. The men were actually an FBI agent and an FBI informant.
    A jury took only about 90 minutes Tuesday to convict former New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran of bribery charges in a scheme to buy a spot on the mayoral ballot for state Sen. Malcolm Smith. Halloran was also found guilty of taking payoffs from what he thought were developers who wanted him to funnel city money their way. The men were actually an FBI agent and an FBI informant.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices