FDNY Hires Nine Ex-felons Amid Effort to Boost Diversity

Susan Edelman, New York Post, November 19, 2016

The newly-minted class of FDNY probationary firefighters includes an unprecedented nine rookie Bravest with felony convictions, including one who did jail time for gun possession, insiders told The Post.

The nine ex-felons, all minorities, were among 295 probies who graduated from the Fire Academy on Nov. 2, as critics charge the FDNY has loosened hiring standards to diversify its ranks.

One of the nine, a black 32-year-old who joined the city as an EMT in 2012, served more than a year in the Nassau County Correctional Center after two 2005 convictions for carrying loaded guns.

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The FDNY confirmed that ex-felons with such certificates can be considered for firefighting positions. A spokesman would not comment on individuals.

Some FDNY members are alarmed at the ex-con influx.

“I agree that people deserve a second chance, but how far are we going to go?” one FDNY veteran asked.

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The crop of ex-felons comes in the wake of a federal lawsuit by the Vulcan Society of black firefighters. In 2014, the city agreed to pay $98 million to candidates passed over because of alleged racial bias.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the latest firefighter class, with 22.3 percent identified as Hispanic and 15.5 percent as black, “reflects the growing diversity of our department.”

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