Garaufis Must Go
I have been watching the situation that is developing betweeen the federal court and the city in regards to the hiring of firefighters for the FDNY.
As with many federal judges, who were appointed under more liberal administrations, Judge Nicholas Garaufis has missed the point and allowed his personal biases to overtake his knowledge and understanding of the law.
As one who has taken the test to become a member of the city’s fire department, I can attest to the fact that the written test, which is the portion of the test that is in contention, is all about writing and only about writing.
For those who do not know, the test mostly provides rules related to fire fighting and the storage of inflammable material and then asks multiple choice questions. There is no doubt in my mind that anybody who can read on a reasonalbe grade level can pass the test.
How, then, can the Vulcans Society, the department organization that represents black firfighters and that brought the suit, say that the test is racist without admitting that it is unfair to ask black people to know how to read?
Since I know that many black people read very well, including some who took and passed the test, how can the test be racist on the face of it?
What Garaufis said is what many liberals believe: If there are not enough people of color winning, then it is a racist proposition.
Most people, including those who run the fire department, do not care whether a firfighter is black, white, yellow or blue. They only care that the firefighters can do their jobs when they are needed to in a burining building with lives on the line.
If we carry the judges logic to the absurd, then the National Basketball League is also racist because the percentage of people of color who play in the league greatly outstrips the percentage of the general population they represent.
Similarly, how about the National Hockey League. The great majority of players are white and nobody complains that the organization is racist because there are few black, latino or Asian players.
As with the NBA and the NHL, only the best get to play and there is a probability that any person who has shown that they can play the game well at a professional level will be chosen to do so.
Think what would happen should on short white man sue the NBA because the Knicks will not let him play at Madison Square Garden. Garaufis would probably rule that the league was racist because there were not enough white players and then order the league to come up with a plan that would insure that 48 percent of its players were white and, when the league could not come up with 48 percent white players who could play at a professional level, he would appoint an attorney to force the league to do his bidding.
Sounds stupid, but that is just what Garaufis is doing.
Look at the firehouse on Beach 116 Street right here in Rockaway. You will find a number of black firefighters working along with their brothers and doing the job they were hired to do.
They did not need Garaufis to insure them a job even though they could not pass the test that every other firefighter had to pass.
They passed the test, they were hired from the list and they do the job, probably as well as any other firefighter.
Garaufis is way off base, and the rest of us are paying in terms of reduced fire coverage, in terms of the millions of fdollars that are going to the suit, paying the monitor and all of the money that he says has to go to people who could not pass the test because of what he believes is racism.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg has been trying to remove Garaufis from the case in the appeals court, but will probaly not get to far. Judges don’t like it when litigants complain about another judge.
In this case, however, Bloomberg is right. Garaufis must go and he must go before he bankrupts the city and forces it to hire unqualified firefighters.