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Queens Chronicle

FDNY ‘bias’ victims can vent at fairness hearing

Advocate wary of turnout and impact

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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 10:54 am, Thu Sep 27, 2012.

Those affected by the outcome of the FDNY bias lawsuit will have the opportunity to air their grievances before a judge at a fairness hearing next month. It is scheduled to last one day but could be extended to two depending on the turnout.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis previously ruled that the department’s entrance exams given in 1999, 2002 and 2007 were biased because of the small number of minorities who passed.

Paul Mannix, the founder of Merit Matters, a group that opposes race-based hiring in the FDNY, has applied to speak at the hearing.

“I think people realize that the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of saying it’s OK to discriminate against whites or Asians because they are successful,” Mannix, who is not a spokesman for the department, said Wednesday. “But it just proves the ridiculousness of how they are doing things. It’s not OK to discriminate against anyone. The hiring should be based on merit, performance and the ability to do the job.”

The hearing will be held at 9 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 1 at the US District Court at 225 Cadman Plaza East in Brooklyn in Room 4D.

Potential claimants received a letter on Aug. 24 asking if they would like to file a written objection, Mannix said, and they were also asked to check a box if they wanted to speak at the hearing.

“People want to speak,” Mannix said. “They want to stand up and be counted.”

The FDNY advocate said he had no idea how many applications were filed, how many people will show up, or what impact the hearing will have, and he seemed suspect of the motives behind the meeting.

“Maybe the judge has been stung by criticism,” Mannix said. “Maybe he wants to appear fair-minded. I hope it’s genuine. I’m going to assume that it’s genuine.”

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1 comment:

  • SocialJusticeNYC posted at 12:02 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2012.

    SocialJusticeNYC Posts: 0

    Merit Matters is a self-proclaimed advocacy organization established for the sole purpose of denying African-Americans, and other non-white ethnic groups, a fair chance of employment within the FDNY.

    Merit Matters has chosen to make the issue of FDNY testing a battle cry for their group. However, the major problem is the FDNY civil service exams for 1999 and 2002 were proven to be ineffective at determining which applicants would become the best firefighters.

    The only value those exams had were significantly lessening hiring from non-white ethnic groups. This in fact makes the 1999 and 2002 exams illegal under the legal designation of “disparate impact”; which is a clear violation of 1964 Civil Rights Act. This was determined by Federal EOE broad and also by Federal Judge Garaufis.