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  1. #1
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    Thumbs down city Bridgeport not to ban felons from firefighter job

    Anger over council's effort to bar felons forces change

    By FRANK WASHKUCH Jr. fwashkuch@ctpost.com

    BRIDGEPORT

    Reacting to widespread outrage, a City Council member is backing away from his plan to bar convicted criminals from city employment.

    Anger reached the point where a local NAACP representative accused the councilman of being a "misguided elected official who simply lacks the intelligence and compassion to govern."

    Keith Cougar Rodgerson, D-133, is revising his draft ordinance so that rather than barring felons outright from municipal jobs, the council would have an oversight role in such hiring.

    Rodgerson said he proposed the ordinance in the first place because the city should have a higher standard for new hires than the private sector.

    "There was never any intention at all to keep rehabilitated individuals from employment," he said.




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    The resolution comes less than a month after city firefighters protested the listing of two convicted felons on the Fire Department's hiring list. Nineteen white firefighter candidates are also protesting the new list.

    State Sen. Ernest Newton, D-Bridgeport, said, "This measure is contrary to what the state is trying to do when we passed a law that allows felons who have completed their jail or prison sentences to vote in elections, to help them move back into the mainstream of society."

    Routinely barring felons from employment has been a local Civil Service standard since 1936, but it is not required by ordinance or the city charter, John C. Colligan, the city's former civil service director, has said.

    Felons cannot be police officers because state law prohibits them from carrying guns.

    The Rev. E.L. Smallwood, chairman of religious affairs for the Bridgeport chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the motion was "another example of a misguided elected official who simply lacks the intelligence and compassion to govern and to lead in 2004."

    "To deny an ex-felon a job or a vote due to past mistakes for which they have served time, is simply an act of injustice that should be unheard of in America," Smallwood said in a statement.

    City Councilman Edwin A. Gomes, D-135, said he is opposed to the resolution.

    "We shouldn't be burying people for the rest of their lives for mistakes they have made in the past," he said.

    Frank Washkuch Jr., who covers regional issues, can be reached at 330-6388.


  2. #2
    Disillusioned Subscriber Steamer's Avatar
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    Make the city as an entity, and the council members personally responsible for any losses/damages caused by these felons actions, and see if they change their minds. I'll bet their "feelings" of indignation changes.

    I find the term "ex-felon" particularly rediculous. There's no such thing as an "ex-felon" or an "ex-virgin". You are or you aren't. I don't care if you've served your time or not. You still committed a felony; ergo, you are a felon

    Columbus PD had several officers on the force several years ago that had felony records for everything from sexual imposition to burglary, if I remember right. The community raised all kinds of hell about that.

    I did a background check on an applicant a couple of years ago that not only had been in prison for 3 years for dealing drugs and robbery, but had the kahounas to list current inmates as references.

    There's no specific disqualification of felons to be hired as a firefighter in Ohio, at least directly. The state requires, however that the employee must have the appropriate fire training certifications within the first year of employment. The rub (for them) is that you can't be certified if you are a convicted felon or been convicted of a violation of a law concerning "moral turpitude". They could theoretically be hired, but would be terminated in a year.

    I wonder if the state requirements may be similar in this case?
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  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    What about Governor?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    I wonder if the state requirements may be similar in this case?

    Hmmmm...

    One, there isn't a state requirement for the firefighters in Bridgeport to be certified. Many departments in CT do use having a "Firefighter I" or whatever certification as proof of meeting the general duty requirements of OSHA someone has been trained for the job their doing. A municipally run program can easily meet that training requirement even if they choose to not test to FFI.

    Two, there are only two restrictions placed on getting certification through the State:
    1. You must be 18 y/o.
    2. You must be a member of a fire department/brigade/etc

    Now, there may be grounds for denying certification as an EMT or MRT (First Responder) -- State Statutes state the Department of Public Health may deny licensure/certification for a broad range of professionals including EMTs for a felony conviction. The DPH regulations themselves however do not specifically state they will deny because of it (indeed, the only license they specifically mention yanking for a felony conviction is...as a waster water treatment plant operator!) The way I interpret that is it gives the DPH broad discretion
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  5. #5
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    Since arson is a felony..by their standards then they could hire an arsonist as a firefighter.

  6. #6
    Truckie SPFDRum's Avatar
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    Anger reached the point where a local NAACP representative accused the councilman of being a "misguided elected official who simply lacks the intelligence and compassion to govern."
    Well, that does it, if we can't prevent felons from joining the fire department, lets go all the way.

    Pedophiles for daycare providers
    Rapists for marriage counslers
    Child abusers for school teachers
    Murderers for cops
    Drunks for school bus drivers
    Crooks for politicians- oops, that one is already taken.

    The Rev. E.L. Smallwood, chairman of religious affairs for the Bridgeport chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People- for that quote, you are a complete and unparalled racist. You want equallity, get off you dead *** and get into the cities, honestly ID the souce of the problem: unwed, teenage mothers; dead-beat dads; drugs; gangs; black on black crime to list a few, and solve these. This would cure many more problems than calling everybody who doesn't believe blacks should get something for nothing a racist. And while we are at it, how about not calling every black that succeeds or disagrees with the NAACP's libral BS an Uncle Tom. 2 that come to mind are Bill Cosby and Clarance Thomas.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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  7. #7
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    Ah, yes. Nothing scares a politician off voting for something faster than being yelled at by the public that he's a racist, classist, or anything else that makes people think that he/she only supports one group of people. Can't get re-elected when you've got a bad label.

    Thank God Texas specifically states that anyone convicted of a felony can not be a firefighter, career or volunteer. Y'all have fun trying to defend to the moral public when one of these felons makes a scene, notes that it's just a little old lady in the house, then returns and robs the place. I think the good Reverend would change his tune slightly then.

    You can add Spike Lee to your list as well. He spoke in defense of Bill Cosby. Shocked quite a few people when he did that too.

  8. #8
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Anger reached the point where a local NAACP representative accused the councilman of being a "misguided elected official who simply lacks the intelligence and compassion to govern."

    "To deny an ex-felon a job or a vote due to past mistakes for which they have served time, is simply an act of injustice that should be unheard of in America"
    SPFDRum, I fail to see how or why this quote makes him a racist. I don't agree with his quote, but wouldn't go so far as to call him racist for it.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Anger reached the point where a local NAACP representative accused the councilman of being a "misguided elected official who simply lacks the intelligence and compassion to govern."

    "To deny an ex-felon a job or a vote due to past mistakes for which they have served time, is simply an act of injustice that should be unheard of in America"
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    SPFDRum, I fail to see how or why this quote makes him a racist. I don't agree with his quote, but wouldn't go so far as to call him racist for it.


    I wonder would the Reverend Gentlemen be so vocal about the hiring of Felons if the two felons concerned were white?

  10. #10
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    Gee , go figure.The department 'recruit team' goes to the county jail to hand out applications for the entrance exam and felons get placed on the hiring list.I think people are looking in the wrong place for the cause of this problem.

  11. #11
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    People, who are felons or ex-felons whichever term is politically correct, chose to be felons. There are too many hard-working honest people who chose to do things the right way that deserve the job over someone who chose the wrong path. Firefighters carry themselves with a certain presence. Honor, integrity and honesty are among the top few attributes. KEEP THE FELONS OUT!

  12. #12
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    How could you not ban felons from the fire dept.? That should not even be an issue, felon = no municipal job period end of story. It is bad enough that when you get on the job you have to deal with issues on the street you should not have to worry about someone that you are working with stealing from you, etc. and what about when equipment turns up missing?
    I think the bottom line is that the city should come out of the stone ages and instituted a higher standard for the hiring process and that would deter some individuals and the honest hard working people no matter what race or sex will be hired!

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