2012-05-18 / Top Stories

Feds Seeking Discriminated-Against FDNY Applicants

By Howard Schwach


Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis On Monday, advertisements ran in several of the city’s daily newspapers seeking “Blacks and Hispanics who applied for New York City firefighter jobs between 1999 and 2006 [who] may be eligible for money, a firefighter job, and seniority to remedy hiring discrimination.”

According to the advertisement, placed by the Department of Justice, the court has ordered the city “to pay up to $128 million in back pay damages to black and

Hispanic victims of the city’s discrimination.”

The ad says that the federal Department of Justice is collecting information from all black and Hispanic applicants who took one of two written exams between 1999 and 2006 in order to decide who is eligible for the money and other awards.

Claim forms must be submitted by June 18, the advertisement says.

Claim forms are available on the Internet at www.justice.gov/fdnycase.

Justice Nicholas Garaufis ruled earlier this year that the city’s tab to pay minorities affected by discrimination in the city’s firefighter entrance exams could be more than $128 million.

In his decision, U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis said hearings will be held to determine how much each individual claimant will receive, which could lower the total amount the city will have to pay.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, however, blasted Garaufis and his ruling

.“The bottom line is that we don’t agree with his decision at all and it’s only the first step in the process,” Bloomberg said. You can rest assured that we will appeal [the judge’s ruling].”

Garaufis fired back, saying that he will move forward with the awards even if the city challenges his ruling.

Garaufis ruled previously that the Fire Department of New York discriminated against minorities in its entrance exam, saying black and Hispanic applicants had disproportionately failed the written examinations and those who passed were placed disproportionately lower down the hiring lists than whites.

The judge appointed an independent monitor in October to keep an eye on the department’s effort to improve diversity in recruiting firefighters.

In January, the city filed a brief asking an appeals court to remove the judge, saying he had abandoned his neutral role and had become an advocate for the Vulcam’s Society.

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That is the problem.(family

That is the problem.(family traditions where generations stayed in a field) If some people could not get them jobs due to there race years ago. How are they to start there family traditions and generations stay in the field. You say that service-critical jobs that personal integrity and teamwork is an essential.That is a true statement. But you are forgetting one thing that is very very important. We was brought over here to do service work.(But for free) PS YOU said that soon you will have to be operated on by a MINORITY HEART SURGEON. Here IS Some FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Daniel Hale Williams (January 18, 1858[1] – August 4, 1931) was an American surgeon. He was the first African-American cardiologist, and performed the first successful open-heart surgery in the United States.

I think the point being made

I think the point being made is that color should take a back seat to competence in all endeavors. If a candidate cannot pass the relatively straightforward exam (already adjusted for race) then these are not the people we want in a critical post. What is happening however is far from that. What is wanted is an immediate increase in minority numbers to the fire department. Competence is taking a back seat to race, which is a recipe for disaster, at least to those who may--at some point in their lives--require rescue at a critical time.


The point about the surgeon is well made, but only 1/4 accurate as his father, who was of mixed parentage was the only contributor of African heritage to the mix. Rather than bring this up I would have simply pointed out that race is unimportant, competence is. Dr. Williams should be praised for his competence in those years, not his race. The problem is complex and will never be adequately answered on forums like this, but minority communities suffer deficits relating to education, social conditioning and psychology, which is why they are not represented proportionately in mission critical work. It does not mean that as a group they are incapable, but the culture, education, reverence for learning that produces such individuals are more scarce in those communities. There is no white medicine or black medicine, just medicine. The last thing anyone wants however is politically correct medicine, which is the point--I guess--that was attempting to be made.


Like yourself, legacy fire department hires should be out, but with that politically correct hires too. If a test is given and fair, which it is, and minorities don't do well, then I think the focus should not be on the test, but rather the elephant in the room no one is paying attention too. Why do minorities score lower? It is a harder question to answer, but if it were in partially addressed and answered this nation would be a much better place. When will the day come that the finger of blame relating to imagined discrimination is turned to themselves asking the more challenging question: What is it we as a minority community doing wrong? Is it too much to ask? I don't think so.

You know what Social

You know what Social Engineering is? It's when someone decides what the shape, color, size and weight of a thing SHOULD be according to their personal lights. In service-critical jobs where personal integrity and teamwork is an essential, social engineering DOESN'T WORK. Down here in Fort Lauderdale (the sixth or seventh borough) you can score as high as you want on the Firefighter's exam, but if you aren't black, hispanic or a woman, you aren't getting the job. That's social engineering. It's a FLOP. It also eliminates family traditions where generations stayed in a field like police work and firefighting. Suddenly it is more important to do the NICE thing than to cultivate a tradition of excellence in a vital profession. Sooner or later you will not be able to select your own doctor (actually much sooner). You will have to be operated on by a "minority" heart surgeon or an oncologist. It will, of course, be the "fair" thing.


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