From the Saint Paul Pioneer Press
Posted on Tue, Oct. 04, 2005
Firefighters sue to halt new hires
Candidate testing practices questioned
BY SHANNON PRATHER
The St. Paul firefighters union has sued to stop the city from hiring new firefighters in the latest clash over the impact that candidate testing and ranking practices have on the number of women and minorities on the force.
St. Paul Fire Chief Douglas Holton said Monday that delaying the hiring of 27 new firefighters could drop staffing to dangerously low levels, but the union's president said the suit is meant to ensure the city is hiring the best-qualified candidates.
The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 21 filed suit Thursday in Ramsey County District Court, alleging that the city's hiring practices for firefighter candidates violate a 1994 agreement between St. Paul, the union and the Minnesota Human Rights Department.
In the late 1980s, the state Human Rights Department sued the city, alleging that its physical exam for firefighters discriminated against women. A group of minority candidates and Local 21 opposed altering the physical test to increase the number of female firefighters but reached an agreement with the city in 1994.
The parties hired a consultant and agreed the city could "reach down" and hire candidates ranking in the top 45 percent of test-takers to increase the number of women hires and ensure that minority numbers also did not drop.
Union leaders now say the test administered this year violates the 1994 agreement and claim the city is manipulating the consultant's recommendations and is reaching below the 45 percent mark. Union President Patrick Flanagan said he and others fear that qualified candidates with high test scores are being passed over. The union wants the city to rank every candidate rather than use the city's practice of creating groups who score similarly.
"Everyone in the department has a friend, relative or acquaintance who has taken that test. A lot of people have been passed over," Flanagan said. "We know people have scored very well and have not had an interview."
Holton said the lawsuit is without merit. The department can't simply rely on test scores but must also weigh other factors, including emergency medical training, criminal background checks and psychological exams, he said.
"It's going to be a huge problem if we can't hire those firefighter positions," Holton said. "It's definitely putting the citizens of St. Paul in a dangerous situation. It may force me to temporarily shut down some fire companies."
Of the 84 firefighter candidates now being considered after qualifying on the test, 40 are minorities and one is a woman, according to the city. The candidates face further employment screening. The city has 404 firefighter positions.
Shannon Prather can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-228-5452.
Wow thats an interesting article, if the city is going past the 45 percent mark to pick minority candidates that messed up. I was surprised there was only one woman about to be hired I think she's on these boards.
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10-06-2005, 05:34 PM #1
Saint Paul is sued by the local IAFF to stop new hires.
10-06-2005, 06:29 PM #2
When will people realize that it potentially endangers lives and is fundamentally wrong and discriminatory in and of itself?
****es me right the hell off."Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers
The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.
"No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker
"As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry
www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org
10-06-2005, 06:49 PM #3
Another example of "political correctness" run amok!"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
10-27-2005, 05:43 PM #4
from Pioneer Press
Fire Department makes job offers
Two days after a judge lifted a hiring ban, the St. Paul Fire Department sent job offers to 35 people Wednesday.
The candidates still must pass medical and psychological exams. Fire Chief Doug Holton said he hopes the 14-week academy will begin at the end of November.
The hiring was delayed by a lawsuit filed against the city in September by the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 21. The suit alleges the city circumvented a 1994 hiring agreement and civil service rules governing how the exam is to be scored.
The suit still is pending, and the union awaits details from the city about the recruiting process before deciding whether to proceed.
With minority applicants making up 40 percent of the people being offered jobs this week, Holton said he was pleased that the department's aggressive efforts to recruit minorities had been successful. Of the 35 people, one is a woman.
ó Mara H. Gottfried
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