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As Payouts Start Getting Handed Out in FDNY “Discrimination” Case :: Merit Matters

Posted Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Below please find an article detailing the beginning of the payouts related to the Vulcan lawsuit and also a Release of ours from two years ago. We are now forwarding the Release again as it seems proper and timely to do so, but I want to make a change: we do not believe the money should be claimed at all, even if it will be donated, if back seniority must be claimed along with it.

Payouts start flowing in FDNY discrimination suit
http://nypost.com/2014/05/01/payouts-start-flowing-in-fdny-discrimination-suit/

A few comments:

1.Will Hispanic class action members now sue the Vulcan Society attorneys for disparate treatment – intentional discrimination – because the “Vulcan Society attorneys sought out the special provision for black class action members while no one bothered to do so for Hispanics” and as a result “compensatory damages are available only for black applicants”?

I had written two years ago that I did not know why blacks were being treated better than Hispanics; now it appears that the reason may be intentional discrimination on the part of the Vulcan Society attorneys.

2.Why is the city “quietly cutting $2501 checks” to victims of discrimination who suffered emotional damage? To avoid taxpayer outrage (they are the ones handing over all this money along with the additional $98 million, after all)? To protect the Vulcan Society attorneys from charges of intentional discrimination against Hispanic class action members? If the new Administration believes discrimination occurred and victims must be compensated, much hoopla should accompany these payouts instead of doing it “quietly”.

3.Casual observers of this issue may erroneously believe that the city used “discriminatory entrance exams”. To correct this false belief simply requires visiting the NY Times website and searching for the 1999 and 2002 entry tests. This visit will reveal that these were “open-book tests” which contained the answers right with the questions.

4.Court papers reveal that one applicant for emotional damages was rejected because of his “ethnic ineligibility” (wow- that’s a little chilling, isn’t it? “Ethnic ineligibility”?!? Truth be told, that’s what quotas and affirmative action are all about: Determining who is eligible and ineligible based on nothing other than ethnicity or race or gender. This is a euphemism I shall be using quite often in the future as it perfectly captures the insidious, racist, sexist and deplorable belief system supporting the entire affirmative action structure: determining who can be declared ethnically eligible or ineligible).

Two questions regarding this candidate:

1.Will he be subjected to any sanctions for apparently misrepresenting his ethnicity? This was a concern addressed in a recent Notice of Examination.

2.Will he take action against the Vulcan Society attorneys for possibly engaging in intentional discrimination?

Current Firefighters and the Vulcan lawsuit

Merit Matters has been contacted by a number of current firefighters about the opportunity to file a claim for back pay and seniority if they were hired after taking either the 1999 or 2006 entry test. We have been asked our opinion and are happy to give it.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that we do not believe that someone hired as a firefighter has any grounds to believe they are due anything other than what they have already earned after successfully competing in the NYC civil service merit system. Although the Court has ruled that the two tests were discriminatory- tests, remember, that provided all the information necessary to answer every question properly right above the question- we reject the belief necessary to arrive at that decision: that blacks and Hispanics are not capable of performing well on written tests or competing successfully against whites. Frankly, we are astounded that members of these groups can make this insulting argument. If anyone from Merit Matters made a similar one our opponents would finally be able to make a legitimate claim that we were racist.

Black and Hispanic firefighters who have earned their positions have repeatedly voiced their concern that while they would like to see more minorities hired as firefighters they do not want anyone hired who will not be able to perform the duties required- both mental and physical. They also do not want to be tarred with the “quota” brush; one minority firefighter suggested that the FDNY adopt the system of hash marks used by the NYPD to indicate how much time each member has been on the job in order to avoid this.

The potential for divisiveness and acrimony among firefighters, already heightened by the lawsuit and remarks maintaining that “fires go out eventually; it really doesn’t matter who responds” or “we are not against the most radical methods of integrating” the FDNY, will no doubt be increased if money is claimed and retroactive seniority demanded based on nothing other than the color of someone’s skin. In fact, divisiveness may occur within the two groups able to make these claims since blacks have the opportunity to receive compensatory damages above and beyond what Hispanics can receive because… well, I don’t know why. Perhaps someone can explain this.

Some believe that money not claimed will go to the Vulcan Society- we have not been able to confirm this and do not believe it should be used as justification to file a claim. One firefighter raised the possibility of claiming the money and then donating it all to a worthy charity. We have to remember that this money is taxpayer money; when someone says, “the city has to pay” they are really handing the bill to the taxpayer. That said, if anyone chooses this path please notify us; we would be happy to post your name and offer our congratulations upon confirmation of any gift made, in whole, to a worthy charity.

Paul Mannix
President – Merit Matters