Newly sworn-in councilman Rory Lancman, left, gets a congratulatory shake from Sen. Chuck Schumer, while Lancman’s wife, Morgan looks on.
Lancman was sworn in Saturday at LeFrak Concert Hall at Queens College by U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis.
The monitor put in place in 2011 by a federal judge to oversee new racial hiring practices for the FDNY’s racial hiring practices already has billed taxpayers for more than $3 million.
And the city last week has filed appeals in a case that could lead to a similar open-ended expense to the taxpayers at the NYPD.
We were thrilled to see the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit put on hold the so-called “remedies” Judge Shira Scheindlin had tried to impose on the Police Department after wrongly determining that it intentionally discriminates against minorities when stopping and frisking people officers deem suspicious.
As this page said after Scheindlin made her ruling last summer, the judge had not taken a fair view of the case from the start. Breaking judicial standards, she had made sure she was the one who got to hear it, had put excessive weight in the testimony of the plaintiffs’ expert witness while dismissing the city’s own expert, and had made comments to the press that revealed she sees judging as a way to write the laws as she sees fit, rather than just determine if they’ve been broken. Scheindlin clearly sought to set Police Department policy, just as her fellow U.S. Judge Nicholas Garaufis set some Fire Department policy, to the detriment of members and the public alike. And she went even further than he had.
The city’s Commission on Human Rights has rejected a claim by a white FDNY applicant that an organization representing black firefighters was guilty of discrimination when it initially denied him entrance to an application test tutoring session in 2012.
Martin Tubridy of Arverne filed the complaint this past January, claiming that the Vulcan Society, which is made up of current and former African-American firefighters, discriminated against him because of his race.
An appellate court has overturned a ruling by Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis that states the city is practicing deliberate discrimination against minority applicants for the FDNY.
Published reports also said Garaufis has been barred from sitting on a retrial to address the matter.
The idea that the City of New York intentionally discriminated against minority applicants to the Fire Department was never more than a misguided misinterpretation of test results, at best, or a demeaning lie at worst.
Now a federal appeals court has agreed that it was wrong for U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis to determine that was the case because too few black and Hispanic applicants to the FDNY managed to pass the department’s entrance exam.
Merit Matters, a group that opposes race-based hiring in the FDNY, is taking aim at the department’s new entrance exam, claiming it gives an unfair advantage to minorities and encourages lying on subjective questions in order to receive higher scores. The Vulcan Society, the fraternal organization of black firefighters, who helped create the exam, denies the accusation.
“This test was engineered to produce a pre-determined outcome and should be challenged by those with standing to do so,” said Deputy Chief Paul Mannix, in his position as an advocate and the founder of Merit Matters, adding, “To allow this test to pass without analytical commentary would be a disservice to everyone connected to the FDNY and also to the civilians who depend on us.”
Merit Matters, an organization than opposes race-based hiring in the FDNY, is firing back against the Vulcan Society, a fraternal organization of black firefighters, and its attorney for consistently intimating that the group is trying to keep the department free of minorities.
The battle is centered on a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis stating that the department’s entrance exams given in 1999, 2002 and 2007 were biased because of the small number of minorities who passed.
An FDNY fairness hearing at a Brooklyn courthouse on Monday drew protesters and saw the staging of a press conference with those on both sides of a federal bias lawsuit voicing their opinions.
“We are absolutely not against the integration of the Fire Department, but we are against the ruination of the Fire Department,” said FDNY Deputy Chief Paul Mannix, the founder of Merit Matters, a group, that opposes race-based hiring. “We don’t care if the department is all white, or all black, or all Hispanic, all Asian or all women, as long as they’re all qualified.”
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.
A record-breaking number of minorities and women have taken the FDNY entrance exam this year, an increase the agency attributes to increased outreach efforts and dedication to diversity.
Some 42,161 people took the test including 19,260 minorities — a 130 percent increase from the last test, given in 2007. More women also took this year’s exam — 1,952, compared to 1,788 for the last three tests combined, according to the FDNY.
Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis, the self-appointed King of the New York Fire Department, continues his war against the health, safety and financial well-being of city residents. In his latest salvo against the people, fired last week, he declared that the city must pay out up to $128 million to FDNY candidates who failed the department’s most recent exams and therefore were not hired — at least those who are not caucasian.
That’s right. These are reparations for minorities only. And the figure is double what the judge had said it would be just a few weeks earlier. It supposedly represents what up to 2,200 failing candidates would have earned had they been hired.
An estimated 60,000 aspiring firefighters will start taking the test to join the New York Fire Department today, March 15. But it could be at least a year before the exams are processed and longer still for successful applicants to complete a 22-week training program to join the Fire Department’s depleted ranks. Meanwhile, the department is set to spend $238 million this year — more than 13 percent of its budget — on overtime for its current workers.
“Our hands are tied until the new test is given and processed,” Fire Chief Edward Kilduff said Feb. 28 during a oversight hearing held by the City Council Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice, where he offered the timetable for hiring.
The federal judge overseeing the lawsuit against the city claiming that the last three FDNY entrance exams were biased, is now ordering the city to compensate black and Hispanic candidates who took those tests with monetary damages, which could total as much as $128 million.
A ruling issued by Judge Nicholas Garaufis on March 8 said that if the tests given in 1999 and 2001 had been fair, nearly 300 minority applicants would have joined the ranks of the FDNY.
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.”
The city filed an appeal last week contesting U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis’ finding that officials have intentionally discriminated against minorities trying to join New York’s Bravest and his appointment of a monitor to oversee all aspects of hiring for the next 10 years at least to remedy what he believes is systematic racial bias within the Fire Department.
Claiming that Garaufis has lost his objectivity, city attorneys want him removed from the case, his decisions reversed and a neutral arbitrator assigned to take over. The judge has ruled that the last three FDNY exams are biased, and blocked the city from hiring applicants who passed those tests.
The city wants federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis, left, removed from the case in which he determined that officials have purposely tried to keep minorities from joining the FDNY. Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano is at center and Deputy Chief Paul Mannix, an advocate who opposes the racial double standards the city claims Garaufis has imposed on the department, is at right.
The city is appealing the determination of U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis that it has intentionally discriminated against minorities who want to be firefighters and needs a court-appointed monitor of its hiring practices for at least a decade as a result.
What FDNY bias?
There has been plenty of pressure on the city over the last several years to diversify the ranks of the FDNY, with a black firefighter group filing a lawsuit and an Hispanic organization also calling for diversity. But one group has remained silent — Asians.
Ironically, they make up the smallest percentage of all minority groups in the department, but the reason they have not been more vocal about this fact remains unclear, although there are some theories.
Remember back when Commissioner Nicholas Scopetta was in charge of the Fire Department? And he answered to Mayor Bloomberg? Sure, Scopetta still runs most department operations, but when it comes to hiring new firefighters — a rather important responsibility — there’s a new sheriff in town.
That sheriff is U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis, who’s appointed himself head of FDNY employment, and has deputized former federal prosecutor Mark Cohen to carry out his policies — mostly over the objections of the city.
Black FDNY candidates who have not completed their applications may have a recruiter knocking on their door this month encouraging them to finish the paperwork — four months past the filing deadline and several weeks after the department stopped making phone calls to candidates of other races — in what critics say amounts to special treatment.
The Vulcan Society, a group of black firefighters who have long lamented a lack of diversity in the FDNY, has asked for, and been granted, permission to conduct these personal visits. The group, along with the Justice Department, is suing the city claiming that past FDNY entrance exams were biased, as evidenced by the small number of minorities who passed.
The city has appealed a judge’s ruling to require stricter oversight of the FDNY’s hiring practices in order to prevent bias against minorities, the New York Law Journal reports.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis issued a remedial order on Dec. 8 appointing a court-appointed monitor to oversee FDNY recruitment, applicant screenings and discrimination complaints for the next decade. Former federal prosecutor Mark Cohen has been selected for the position.
FDNY Lt. George Ricco Diaz, president of the FDNY Hispanic Society, attributes the day he decided to join the department to “divine intervention.”
In 1981, he was working as a data entry technician for the Social Security Administration, when he got into an argument with his boss who scolded him for bypassing red tape in order to help clients more quickly. “He told me I had too much energy for the job,” Diaz recalled. “He said I should look for another job.”
Hire on merit