How things happen in Bpt. CT...
I have read these comments for years about what goes on in Bridgeport Fire Dept. and what has been done wrong to whoever the "victim" of that particular comment is. First of all, when you comment with such clarity you probably would want to be as close to the situation as possible. Well, I am an African-American firefighter with BFD (going on 6 years), know Earl King well (same high school, same neighborhood), proud member of The Firebird Society of Bpt., member of IAFF Local 834, and also know of the inconsistencies of the Civil Service process. Lastly, I don't ask for favors or handouts, do my job as best I can, and appreciate the real "friends" that I have met on BFD (black, white, hispanic, male or female), and for everyone else continue to have the hates: it only affects you.
The person who created this thread is as disillusioned as they can possibly be. They say what Bridgeport can and can't do; people who live it knows that there is the right way, the wrong way, and the Bpt. way. You say the City can't change the test midway (whatever...). After my written exam, I was one of the top scorers on the test (I believe that we had over 4,000 test takers and I was tied for 7th - no residency points). There was supposed to be a physical, and after that an entrance medical exam. Well, Bridgeport adds an oral exam that was never posted on the announcement. After this portion, I dropped to where I eventually came on with the last set of hires on my list. The reason that this is funny is that I always do well in oral interviews; I got hired by a Fortune 500 company off the strength of the interview at the age of 16 (and they knew that I knew nothing about software engineering). So, don't tell me what Bridgeport doesn't do. They also don't follow the charter to the "t", don't give timely promotional exams, and a slew of other things. With that being said, I still love my dept. and the city that I was born in and hate when people just run their mouth recklessly about either. The only way to affect change is to come together, but this is not on everyone's agenda. If you are a member of this dept., then you know that lawsuits are a way of life in BFD (entrance exams, promotional exams, harrasment, etc.). I could have sued like many people who took my entrance exam, but I chose not to. I don't blame people for my shortcomings, it just inspires me to work harder.
As an African-American, I also am still amazed that many of you writers of comments are so sure that all minorities walk around asking "boss, could ya' please gimme sum of ya crumbs and I'se be so happy". Come of that please and understand that this is not a world that you can throw out your generalities and blanket everyone. Like I said, not evryone is going around looking for handouts - a fair shake is different. A lot of these "minorities" that you generalize about are so far past you (i.e. education, employment, net worth, etc.); oh, you are probably talking about the ones that get stereotyped on the evening news robbing liquor stores. I am a proud member of BFD, a proud member of Local 834, and a proud member of the Firebird Society. According to the comments that I read, none of these make me a sh*tbag except the last one. If any of you history buffs want to jump in feel free: there was/and is a need for organizations like this. When African-Americans first got on the job do you think that it was a walk in the park? Hell no. By the way we have a charter that can be read by anyone that states what we do. And if you label me a person that is bad because I am a member of an organization that ultimately looks out for its members and gives back to my community, then you can go to hell. Being a member of 834 doesn't it offer me something sort of similar. A lot of folks have issues with certain members of the organization and can not hide it. As with every organization, even if you disagree with anything and it passes a vote that is the end. A resolution may pass and you may hate it, but it made the vote. So don't get your personal problems so mixed up that you are shooting buckshot everywhere. My organization has been a fixture in the community for years and will continue to grow and thrive.
The hot topic is Earl King Jr. Do you know him? Do you even care to when you can write your thoughts behind the safety of your screen name? You say all these reasons that there should not be felons on the job. Well, I don't know if BFD wants to go around pulling files open because for the most part the bad apples have weeded themselves out. This is a hot topic because of all the press it got (Russel and Adrian Peeler, shootings, etc.); this is not atypical of what was going on in Bpt. during the period when crack was king. You can see Bridgeport from the places you are from or from the middle of the neighborhood (Alex and Davenport St. - East End). The perspective is completely different. I am not shocked and apalled by stuff that we saw going on everyday. I make no excuses for Earl King Jr., but I also believe that a person can change. In Bpt., if you are a sh*tbag you will be exposed. There are also people who can appreciate the fact that this is one of the best things that ever happened to them and then run with it. Do we all live in glass houses with rocks in our hands. I can probably go through all of your departments, friends' lists, and family trees and find things that were done that would floor you. But you would say, John of Jane is not like that anymore. You would even say that I would personally vouch for them. It is easy to judge someone that you don't know. He sold drugs and everything else that you add to it is only meant to dramatize. The gang that everyone talks of was a group of guys selling drugs (not the Crips and Bloods). This is Bridgeport, not Los Angeles.
This is my humble attempt to shed some light on the topic that you guys seem to love to talk about. Lawsuits will always happen, someone will always have been done wrong, people will always have the hates, and someone will always be seen as being helped to where they are. In conclusion, stop writing these comments like there is some race war going on. "Whites join the lawsuit", "Blacks let's mount up"; come on and sound intelligent. Take the time that you spew hate and write and get some textbooks and read them. Get monthly fire publications, talk to the veterans, and be humble. Then when you know that you have studied as much as you can, you can apply that knowledge and excel. The day is gone that you will get a job because of your father or uncle's name, or because you are a particualr race. Also remember that you can always move to Bpt. to take advantage of the residency points, or is that not an option. Are you one that could work here but not live here? The residency points have always been skewed as only helping minorities, but the actually help all residents (if you are white, and you live here, you will get some of these controversial points too). You seem very smart at compiling ranks of other people, but not at the test. Maybe it isn't the system that messed you up, but in fact you just did not do well.
Bridgeport Fire Department
Engine 7 B Shift (Black Rock)
P.S. I will never hide behind a screen name and scream like a giant, but in your face have nothing to say. As my friends on the job know, whatever I say I can and will stand behind (in the forum, on the apparatus floor, or in the kitchen). It doesn't make you wrong because you have different opinions; however, it does when you can't respect other people and their opinions. Hope to hear from you all soon...