The City of Philadelphia this year quietly paid out $275,000 to settle claims by five white firefighters that they had been discriminated against in the promotion process.
Not only did the city pay five lieutenants between $30,000 and $40,000 each in the January settlement of a 2007 federal civil-rights lawsuit, but the Fire Department also agreed to address the officers’ complaints that the promotional exams they took in 2005 were skewed against them in favor of minority candidates.
The settlement suggests that the city gave some credibility to the officers’ claims – including one that the city purposely brought in minority officers to administer the tests.
The settlement was marked “confidential,” but the city released it to The Inquirer under the state Right to Know Act.
The settlement allowed the city to avoid a lengthy litigation and appeals process such as the City of New Haven, Conn., experienced in a 2004 lawsuit by 20 white firefighters who challenged their city’s promotion process. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in their favor.
The Philadelphia case underscores a similar, ongoing racial tension in the department in regard to promotions and how the tests are given and scored.
Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers could not be reached for comment. Everett Gillison, the deputy mayor for public safety, said he was not familiar with details of the lawsuit and would not comment until he had reviewed it.
The Philadelphia lieutenants – Francis J. Hannan, Joseph Lee Jr., Gerard Kots, Michael Wellock, and Thomas G. Leonard – sued the city in September 2007, claiming that they had been “systematically or otherwise downgraded” because of their race during the oral portion of the July 2005 fire captain’s examination.
None of the five was promoted at the time – Hannan and Lee made captain in subsequent promotion rounds.
In the suit, the men alleged that the “raters” – fire officers from other cities brought in to administer tests, a practice in most departments – were told before the tests that the department “was ‘in dire’ need of minority and female fire officers,” according to the complaint.
Of the 14 raters brought in for the 2005 captains test, 10 were African American, some of them members of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, which has advanced the cause of blacks in the firehouses nationally, according to the complaint.
The five white lieutenants lost points for such things as lack of “appropriate eye contact,” mistakenly addressing a female rater as “Sir,” and for “being too wordy,” according to the complaint. LINK
I am well aware of this lawsuit and settlement, but until it hit the open media I have withheld my comments. Now it’s plain to see that the problem of reverse racism is alive and well in major American cities like Philadelphia.
If you thought New Haven was an isolated case, think again. Institutional reverse racism has been a growing problem for many years. It is fostered by the Left in their never ending quest for “Social Justice” and “Social Engineering.” It is often disguised by terms like “Diversity” and “Awareness.” It is force fed to us by zealots in personnel departments and used to cover the inequities of “Protected Classes.”
I have been through the promotional process about five times in my career. I have found it to be arbitrary, subjective and biased. I have also worked hard to overcome these issues by being 100% as professional and knowledgeable as I can be. In other words, when it comes to firefighting I have to make sure I know my sh*t twice as good as other people in order to leave the raters with no excuse to pass me over.
Others have not been so lucky. I know every one of the men mentioned in this article. To a man, they are the cream of the crop and should have been treated fairly. The City of Philadelphia’s admission and settlement is proof positive that racism is alive and well in our department, and I suspect many others as well.
For years while liberals have preached level playing fields and diversity they have worked behind the scenes to exclude the best and brightest – often by illegal methods. Right now four of the top five command positions in the PFD are held by minority officers.
These are not new allegations. The administration of the PFD specifically asked for and got the testing firm they wanted last time around, even at a higher cost to taxpayers. You can draw your own conclusions as to why a city in dire financial straits spends more money than it should just to administer a promotional exam. The personnel department makes up the written test simply by flipping through a textbook and picking random questions. How difficult is that to comprehend? It is the oral portion of the exam where all bets are off.
This issue has serious implications for me, as I am waiting on the test date to be announced for the next Battalion Chief’s exam. I have to prepare myself not only professionally but socially. I have to worry not only about the exam questions but the raters’ impartiality as well. These issues simply have no place in our supposed colorblind society. Does anyone think I could do my job if I took race into account every time I answered a call? I spend every shift serving the PEOPLE who call us. Everyone gets the same standard of care the situation warrants, without exception.
It’s time we start waking up and demanding an end to racial preferences and quotas of any sort. There is simply no reason in this day and age to justify using someone’s race, gender, ethnicity or any other non-job-related criteria in hiring or promotion. It is time to make sure the best, brightest and hardest working PEOPLE are rewarded.