It was implied in a Daily News story (8/10/11) that, because I am critical of the FDNY Vulcan Society (a fraternal group of black firefighters), I was not ensuring "a positive climate for civil rights".
Leaders of this group have stated that they just want more black firefighters in the FDNY and are not against the most radical methods of integrating the FDNY (so literally grabbing people off the sidewalk and putting them on firetrucks would be fine with them). They have also made incredibly reckless statements minimizing the dangers of firefighting in what I believe could be an attempt to give cover to those who want to minimize the standards to become a firefighter. The most glaring example of this lowering of standards is Judge Nicholas Garaufis' ruling that reading comprehension ability is not required to be a firefighter.
Our group has consistently maintained that everyone should receive equal treatment without regard to color, gender, race or religion (which puts us in exact alignment with the FDNY EEO Unit's Policy Statement). The Vulcan leadership has advocated quota hiring based on race which, said another way, means not hiring someone based on race. Knowing this, I ask your readers to decide who it is that is not ensuring a positive climate for civil rights.
There is a line of thought that letters such as this aren't helpful; I disagree. Our group believes that NYC residents- black, Asian, Hispanic, male, female, religious, agnostic- deserve the best firefighters they can possibly get, not those that satisfy a social engineering goal. The judge said he hoped we could develop a positive, compliant attitude in the FDNY regarding his attempts to impose his view of how hiring (and, no doubt, promotion) should be conducted (see above about reading). Silence is consent, and I interpret his hope for a "positive, compliant attitude" as "sit down and shut up". This we will not do. We are not against diversity; we are against putting the lives of 11,00 firefighters, 8 million residents and 47 million visitors to NYC in danger.