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FDNY Still Not Doing Enough To Recruit Blacks, Hispanics

Despite recent recruitment push, court says city still needs to do more to promote diversity.

FDNY Still Not Doing Enough To Recruit Blacks, Hispanics

The fight to make the ranks of the New York Fire Department look more like the communities they serve rages on.

Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis issued a memorandum Friday that found that the FDNY still had not done enough to increase the number of African-American and Hispanic recruits.

The finding came months after the city embarked on a in community newspapers and “urban and Hispanic stations" to encourage diversity in this year's recruiting class.

The move to increase the number of minority applicants was prompted by a 2009 ruling by Garaufis in favor of a group of black firefighters suing the FDNY for discrimination in its 85-question written exam.

Bowing to pressure in the wake of the court's decision, city officials pledged to revamp the FDNY's admissions test to provide a level playing field for black and Hispanic recruits.

As of this week, it seemed the process of revising the entrance exam was still underway.

A message left on the answering machine for the Vulcan Society, the Brooklyn-based fraternal organization of black firefighters named in the Federal Court suit, told applicants that tutorials could not be given until the city published the revised test.

Several requests for comment from the Vulcan Society on Friday's court finding were not returned.

The filing period for the next FDNY admissions exam ended Sept. 15. The computer-based test will be given to applicants from Jan. 3 to Feb. 3, 2012, with online tutorials available by Dec. 10, according to the FDNY's website.

Blacks made of just 2.6 percent of the FDNY's ranks in 2002, with Hispanics at 3.7 percent. City Planning statistics from the same year counted 25 percent of the city as black and 27 percent Hispanic, according to Garaufis' 2009 ruling.

Garaufis was expected to issue separate instructions on how the city should proceed with its minority recruitment program.

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