1. #1
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    Jul 2004

    Default City of Bridgeport council will not ban felons from Fire dept

    Council shuns ban on hiring felons

    Council shuns felony hiring ban Council shuns votes on hiring felons Measure had been scaled back from ban

    By AARON LEO aleo@ctpost.com

    BRIDGEPORT A proposal that would have allowed the City Council to approve or deny city jobs to people with violent felony convictions was rejected in committee Tuesday.

    The council's Ordinance Committee voted 4 to 1 to kill the proposal by Councilman Keith Rodgerson, D-133.

    The proposal, which Rodgerson had scaled back from a blanket ban, called for a vote of at least two-thirds of the council to accept or reject an applicant with a violent felony conviction.

    After the meeting, Rodgerson said he was not surprised at the decision but was glad it sparked a review of the city's hiring practices.

    Rodgerson called for the change after two men with felony convictions

    including one who bagged crack cocaine for the Peeler drug gang here

    were placed on the firefighter hiring list in June by the Civil Service Commission. The commission is reviewing its decisions.

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    A 68-year-old city Civil Service guideline, but not city law, bars people with felony convictions from working as firefighters.

    Thomas Freer, R-130, cast the only vote favoring the proposal, because of his constituents' feelings.

    "They don't want a felon working for them [on the Fire Department], someone who may potentially enter their homes," he said.

    Fire Chief Michael Maglione has said he also opposes felons working on the department.

    Committee Chairman Thomas McCarthy, D-133; and members Edwin Gomes, D-135; Marilyn Santacroce, D-134; and Carlos Silva, D-136, rejected the proposal for a variety of reasons.

    "We are not the judge and the jury," Gomes said. "We are not a hiring body, we are a legislative body."

    Other committee members agreed with arguments from state Sen. Ernest Newton II and Rep. Charles D. Clemons Jr., both D-Bridgeport, and a written opinion from City Attorney Mark Anastasi.

    "Everybody makes mistakes," Newton said. "People get rehabilitated."

    Clemons, a retired city firefighter, said, "I worked side by side with some felons I would go into a burning building with in a moment's notice."

    Anastasi said Connecticut law provides standards to address hiring felons, such as the relevancy of the crime to the job, the age of the conviction and the degree of rehabilitation.

    But people with felony convictions cannot be police officers because state law bars them from carrying weapons.

    Felons may also apply to a state pardoning board to have their records cleared.

    Anastasi added that the Civil Service director and the commission can evaluate individually each applicant with a felony conviction.

    Civil Service Director John C. Colligan, who has retired but continues to work until he is replaced, has said he would never recommend hiring anyone with a felony conviction.

    The controversial firefighter candidates are city residents Earl King Jr. and Edward Valderrama.

    King, ranked 16th on the hiring list, testified against the Peelers at their drug and murder trials, after striking a plea bargain with federal prosecutors.

    He earned a college degree in 1999 and worked for Subway as a manager and server from January 2002 to July 2002, according to his civil service job application.

    Valderrama, ranked 91st, was convicted in 1986 of two counts of illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, prescription or dispensing, his application stated. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, suspended after he served four years and five years probation, it stated.

    Valderrama now co-owns and manages two city businesses, he reported on his application.

    The Civil Service Commission will review Valderrama's case in September and King's in October.

    Aaron Leo, who covers regional issues, can be reached at 330-6222.

  2. #2
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    Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Mar 2000


    A 68-year-old city Civil Service guideline, but not city law, bars people with felony convictions from working as firefighters.

    Clemons, a retired city firefighter, said, "I worked side by side with some felons I would go into a burning building with in a moment's notice."

    Does anyone else see something that's not jiving in those two statements?
    IACOJ Canine Officer

  3. #3
    SPFDRum's Avatar
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    Mar 1999
    St Paul, MN


    Was Clemons in Cambodia during the Christmas of '68 also?
    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
    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
    George Mason
    Co-author of the Second Amendment
    during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
    Elevator Rescue Information

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    Nov 2003


    In reply to brother Dalmatian90 , a number of members of our department became felons after they were appointed to the fire department( some continue ).It's an interesting story.

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