2002-01-26 / Letters

Take The Test, Training

Take The Test, Training

Dear Editor;

My name is Joe Di Resta. I grew up, and lived, in my beloved Rockaway, until age 27. I was a NYC Firefighter for 25 years.  The first ten years, I worked in East New York Brownsville, the last fifteen in Rockaway. I have had the privilege of going to Public, and High School with Howie Schwach.

I read this week's column, by the G-man with some surprise.  You seem to write from your heart, and appear to be an intelligent person. How can you possibly make the statement that no one will answer the question, about why there are so few minorities on the Fire Dept. Sir, the test is announced in the Chief, a Civil Service newspaper. It never mentions that any race, gender, or creed, need not apply. It is an open call to Fire Dept wannabees to file, and take the exam. You must file, take a test, and pass the test, and then a physical test, an investigation, psychological test, a medical, and finally three-month training school. That is all it takes, and has for years. Not one person is denied this process, due to race, nationality or gender.

As far back as I can remember, the city has always bent over backward, to fill the ranks with city residents. I took the test 40 years ago, and still remember there was 5 or 10 questions about city government. This was to give the residents an edge over Long Islanders. Also, there have always been some training sessions for those that wanted them, for free. Candidates that really wanted the job used Delahanty, a private program to prepare for Civil Service tests. Most recently, City Residents are given 5 or 10 point credit over Non residents on their final mark. Short of taking the exam for them, they are given every opportunity. I believe the problem is not enough "minorities" as you mention, fail to apply, pass, or accept the job. Perhaps more counselors in the inner cities should make the residents more aware of what is available to them.  It is so easy to say no one will answer your question, when perhaps you may be asking the wrong questions. I, as many who read your column, some time I totally disagree, but you, as I have the right to say it.

In the 25 years I put on the job, I have worked with, and for many minorities, and to me they were brother Firefighters, not, not white, black, green or yellow. Just as when I too saw the flag raised, to me it was raised by three Firemen, Amen.

JOSEPH DI RESTA


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