Is the FDNY Being Fixed or Broken?

While hundreds of white firefighters rallied outside, thirty-six witnesses who were sympathetic to their position took the stand in Brooklyn Federal Court today to testify at a "Fairness Hearing" before Judge Nicholas Garaufis, who is overhauling the FDNY's recruitment and hiring practices to make them more racially and ethnically inclusive.

As part of that effort, Garaufis has, among other changes, awarded retroactive seniority and ordered the priority hiring of 293 minority candidates.

White firefighters, both inside and outside the courtroom, said they were worried about their future at an increasingly polarized  FDNY

As a result of a 2007 lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department and the Vulcan Society, the 89% white FDNY faces sweeping changes in its recruitment and hiring practices. Garaufis, in response to the lawsuit,  ruled that FDNY exams and civil service lists discriminated against blacks and Hispanics.

A new exam and a multi-million-dollar recruitment campaign resulted in a record number of minority test-takers last year, with more than half scoring 97% or better on the exam.

In dueling press conferences -- white and black -- outside the courthouse on Monday, the two sides in the case traded jabs, with the Vulcan Society dismissing white firefighters' claims that standards are being compromised to meet racial quotas.

The article from the Daily News.

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