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Queens Chronicle

Official troubled over FDNY test locations

Exams out of city, state, and in LIC bar

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Posted: Thursday, March 1, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:41 pm, Thu Mar 8, 2012.

An FDNY official, in his capacity as a private activist, has expressed numerous concerns over the upcoming firefighter entrance exam, among them, he says, is that some will be given outside the city or state and at least one will be held at an area tavern.

“It’s probably because they need so many computer terminals, and they needed to cast such a wide net,” Deputy Chief Paul Mannix, who is not a spokesman for the department, said Wednesday. “But it just proves the ridiculousness of how they are doing things.”

Mannix, who is the founder of Merit Matters, a group that opposes race-based hiring in the FDNY, said a number of candidates have contacted him to inquire as to why they are being sent to places like Philadelphia, Connecticut, New Rochelle, Albany — and Studio Square, a bar in Long Island City.

“They keep stressing that they want city residents, which is code for minorities, but if they are looking for city residents why are they recruiting outside of the state,” Mannix said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

The FDNY has 15 exam locations, a spokesman for the department said Wednesday, the majority of which are in the city and adjacent counties. They were selected by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which oversees the tests, to make it convenient for all candidates, even those who live outside the city and state, and because computers are already available at the sites.

Those who signed up for the test first are more likely to get assigned an exam site closer to home, the spokesman said. Those who would like to change their site can do so. As far as the bar location is concerned, the spokesman said the test is going to be given at a space in the same building, but not within the tavern itself.

Controversy over the FDNY exam has been persistent over the last few years with the Vulcan Society, a fraternal group of black firefighters who have long lamented a lack of diversity in the department, joining a lawsuit launched by the Justice Department, accusing the city of discrimination.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis concluded the tests given in 1999, 2002 and 2007 were biased because of the small number of minorities who passed.

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