FDNY's dirty little secret: White firefighters' criminal pasts ignored in hiring, say

Dec 8, 2004
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Enid Alvarez/News

FDNY electrician Gregory Seabrook said he found a noose outside his work locker after he complained about discrimination.

A former FDNY official shed light on a troubling back-room practice that helped white firefighter candidates get hired despite having criminal records.

A sworn deposition by Patricia Kavaler, an assistant commissioner for personnel in 2004, contained the explosive revelations.

Kavaler's statement was entered into evidence yesterday in Brooklyn Federal Court, where a group representing black firefighters is trying to get a special monitor to oversee reform in the Fire Department.

She recalled FDNY brass lobbying members of a review board that decides whether to overlook candidates' sketchy pasts.

"This is 'boys being boys,'" Kavaler said in describing the calls from firefighters vouching for the candidates. "That sort of thing."

In blunt language, Kavaler described how the calls went:

"You would have lieutenants and captains. . . . 'This is the son of so and so. I lived next-door to him for years, he's a good guy.'

"'He beat his wife but his wife took him back so he shouldn't be considered a wife beater,'" she said in her 2008 statement, describing the types of calls made on behalf of troubled white candidates. "'He still could be a good firefighter.'"

Some were willing to stick their necks out for the questionable potential hires. "And people would say, 'I know this guy, his son has got to come on the job, I will vouch for him,' " she recalled.

Kavaler also noted that the names of candidates who were before the review board were leaked by members of her staff.

Another FDNY official was grilled about the hiring of two white former cops who beat murder raps in the infamous police shooting of Amadou Diallo.

Dean Tow, director of candidate investigations for the FDNY, was asked about former NYPD cops Richard Murphy and Edward McMellon. They got jobs at the FDNY after they were cleared by a jury of gunning down Diallo.

"Did you have any concern that, perhaps, in shooting an innocent civilian ['the cops'] judgment, while although not criminal, may have been faulty?" asked lawyer Richard Levy, counsel for the Vulcan Society.

"No," Tow replied tersely.

The Vulcan Society wants Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis to order changes in the way the FDNY recruits candidates and vets them. It also wants the monitor to reform the way the department investigates discrimination complaints lodged by minority firefighters.

Garaufis has previously ruled that the last two written firefighter tests were discriminatory against minorities.

In the coming days, Garaufis will hear testimony from black firefighters about racial hatred in city firehouses.
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afternoonquil

Apology Ostrich
Apr 2, 2011
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And we also look the other way when the blackholios have low test scores.

Stop whining you bunch of what's happening cast members!
 

d0uche_n0zzle

**Negative_Creep**
Sep 15, 2004
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#3
Bottom line, it's a very difficult job and them coloreds don't like to bust their asses for it. The FDNY physical fitness test knocks out most.
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
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#4
Where's the racial discrimination? Sounds more like just good old fashioned nepotism to me. Maybe these asterisks should try applying over in New Haven...
 

Don the Radio Guy

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Mar 30, 2006
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#5
Would you rather have a guy with a DUI trying to save you or a guy who can't read or is too lazy to lift a 100 lb. hose?
 

CousinDave

Registered User
Dec 11, 2007
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#7
Firemen are supposed to be volunteer
 

Creasy Bear

gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh
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Mar 10, 2006
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#8
And yet this bunch of white thieves, murderers, and criminals is still managing to put up higher test scores than the black firefighters... what does that tell you?
 

Don the Radio Guy

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#13
Firemen are supposed to be volunteer
In big cities, it probably works better that they're pros. Fighting fires in Bumfuck, Arkansas is a lot different than fighting them in New York City.

Having said that, it's probably more corrupt business than big city police, which is an accomplishment in itself.
 

Mags

LDAR, bitch.
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Oct 22, 2004
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In big cities, it probably works better that they're pros. Fighting fires in Bumfuck, Arkansas is a lot different than fighting them in New York City.

Having said that, it's probably more corrupt business than big city police, which is an accomplishment in itself.

So true. Ya really don't want Cletus, whose more worried about getting enough sleep for his day job, trying to save you in your 20th floor apartment at 2:00am.
 

Don the Radio Guy

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So true. Ya really don't want Cletus, whose more worried about getting enough sleep for his day job, trying to save you in your 20th floor apartment at 2:00am.
Or the bucket brigades from Gangs of New York brawling in the streets over who gets to loot your house. There really is a lot of science involved in modern firefighting, especially in cities. As corrupt as these guys are, they really are a special breed. It's sort of how I give Philly cops a pass for cracking a few heads once in a while. Sometimes that shit needs to be done to keep the natives in their place. If hiring only white Irish drunks makes FDNY happy, I say have at it, as long as the city doesn't burn down.
 

Stormrider666

Hell is home.
Mar 19, 2005
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#17
Would you rather have a guy with a DUI trying to save you or a guy who can't read or is too lazy to lift a 100 lb. hose?
Give me the guy with the DUI. As long as he doesn't kill anyone on the way to the fire and/or on his off-day, its all good.