City to Pay $30 Million, Hire 111 Black Firefighters

Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times, August 17, 2011

Chicago will hire 111 bypassed black firefighters by March 2012 and pay at least $30 million in damages to some 6,000 others who will never get that chance, under a court order expected to be approved Wednesday by a federal judge.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed that African-American candidates did not wait too long before filing a lawsuit that accused the city of discriminating against them for the way it handled a 1995 firefighter’s entrance exam.

A federal appeals court affirmed that ruling in May and remanded the case back to the trial court to implement a hiring remedy the city had been stalling.

Now, both sides have agreed on that plan and how it should be implemented.


The court order, to be presented to U.S. District Judge Joan Gotschall on Wednesday, calls for the city begin by sending postcards to all 6,000 black bypassed black candidates.

Those who indicate they are still interested in becoming Chicago firefighters will be entered into a “jobs lottery” to identify 750 candidates who will take a physical abilities test in October and undergo background checks, drug tests and medical exams.

From that group, the city will select 111 candidates who will enter the fire academy for training by the end of March 2012.

Would-be firefighters who have moved on to other careers or choose to bypass the jobs lottery for other reasons will receive cash awards of at least $5,000 per person. Chicago taxpayers will also be on the hook for $10 million to $20 million in back pension contributions for those who get jobs. That means the total cost could approach $50 million.


When results from the 1995 entrance exam were disappointing for minorities, the city established a cut-off score of 89 and hired randomly from the top 1,800 “well-qualified” candidates.

In 2005, a federal judge ruled that the city’s decision had the effect of perpetuating the predominantly white status quo, since 78 percent of those ‘”well-qualified” candidates were white.



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20 Responses to “City to Pay $30 Million, Hire 111 Black Firefighters” Subscribe

  1. Question White Privilege August 18, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    This story has great potential for us. After the hires are made and the training complete, these new firemen will hopefully be sent to put out the fires of elite liberal Whitey who promote and demand policies that foster Diversity and help minorities.

    When Kunta forgets how to read the map, let’s rejoice when Whitey has his entire house of White privilege reduced to ashes.

    Anything that ruins the White privilege of those who institutionalize systemic policies that ruin our White privilege is a good thing.

  2. Anonymous August 18, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    If they cannot pass themselves, we should let them pass anyway, right?

    This is not only a very stupid move (a bunch of unqualified blacks as firefighters), but if you look at it honestly, it is very insulting to black firefighters. It implies that black people are too dumb (which in society we are taught that they are our equals) to be given the same expectations as whites. Why isn’t the black community outraged that their standards have been dumbed down? Nothing makes me believe the black community is as corrupt as things like this. They aren’t interested in equality; they are interested in maximum self-benefit. They don’t want to be our peers, they don’t want to play the hard game that is white expectation, they want it easy and fast with little responsibility.

    I only hope Chicago doesn’t burn again or else she and her residents will be lost to the flames as an unqualified fire department tries to get the hose out of the truck.

    Sane whites realize that there is no ending to the black community’s demands, somewhere at some point you must stop and say “no more”. They will always see us as racist and they will always hate us. That’s all there is to it.

  3. Anonymous August 18, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    This is funny, because in another city white firefighters sued because they were passed over in favor of less qualified ‘minorities’.

  4. Anonymous August 18, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    6,000 non hires will get to split 30 million? In ten years, does the Chicago fire dept hire 6,000 new fire fighters? I don’t think so. What an awesome giveaway for the brothas’ who happened to fill out the application.

  5. (AWG) Average White Guy August 18, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    I don’t want a black firefighter coming to my rescue.

    I don’t want a White firefighter coming to my rescue.

    I want a competent firefighter coming to my rescue.

  6. mike savagitarian August 18, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

    mobs cause kc to place youth curfew today article link.,0,1499282.story

  7. Angry Bird August 19, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    Remember the Ricci v. DeStefano case where white firefighters’ civil rights were violated when promotion test results were thrown out because too few nonwhites passed the test?

    After the 5-4 SCOTUS decision (this narrow margin is worrisome in and of itself), the firefighters returned to U.S. District Court in Connecticut seeking back pay, damages and legal fees.

    Attorneys for the city of New Haven told The Disassociated Press that the firefighters will receive about $2 million and the city will pay their attorneys’ fees of about $3 million. After seven long years of dragging its feet, the city of New Haven was finally forced to certify the results of the promotion test and promoted everyone who would have been promoted if the exams had been certified in the first place.

    Don’t forget, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor ruled against the white firefighters when she served on a federal appeals court.

    Think of this when you vote for the next POTUS in 2012. if Obama is reelected, another racist Supreme Court justice will be appointed and decisions in cases like this that involve white plaintiffs will be 5-4 AGAINST any white seeking racial justice no matter how valid the case or overt the racial discrimination.

  8. Anonymous August 19, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    I hope there is a follow up story on how many of the 750 candidates actually pass the background and drug tests. Wonder if they will get 111.

  9. Anonymous August 19, 2011 at 12:14 am #

    Sometime in the near future, we’ll hear the typical SWPL types complaining about “incompetence” and “irresponsibility” in government services.

    The sad thing is, most of then will never connect the dots.

  10. Anonymous August 19, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    “It implies that Black people as too dumb to be given the same expectations as Whites.”-anon #2

    Descibes my Dad in a nutshell. But in his case, He thought he was being tolerant,compassionate and enlightened…

  11. Rebelcelt August 19, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    So these blacks petition the court not on the basis of being discriminated against…but on the basis that theywere not given enough advantage!

    then the judge agrees and awards damages!!


  12. Anonymous August 19, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    Chicago’s population peaked in 1950. It’s going down to Detroit territory in slow motion.

  13. Anonymous August 19, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    So the ones who start the fires are now being hired to put them out? Now, that’s job security.

    Rebelcelt 11: Maybe not, but I wish they would give it a try.

  14. Anonymous August 19, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    The blacks may have a point this time. Just how smart do you have to be to hold a fire hose? Maybe the test should be centered around strength and agility. On occasion a fireman carries someone out of a burning building. Oh wait, then the women would sue because they could never pass that test. Guess you just can’t win in our marxist society.

  15. Anonymous August 19, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Yeah, but, you know, I went to go on a carnival ride, and the sign said “You must be 5 feet tall to get on this ride” which didn’t bother me because I’m 5’4″ so that meant I was qualified to ride the ride. But then the guy at the gate said, “Sorry, nothing against you, but I’ve decided not to let on anyone under 5’5″, so you’re out of luck.” And I said, “But hey, the sign says I’m qualified!” and the guy said, “Well, but I’ve arbitrarily decided you’re not, you know, WELL qualified.” Now you tell me, if you were me, would you just give up and go away or would you go find the manager and ask what’s up with that?

  16. Stone Greaser August 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    Makes you wonder what a “discriminatory test” looks like…

  17. white is right, black is whack August 19, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    I’d rather be “racist” and have a white guy save my life than be “tolerant and unoffensive” by giving the job to a “person of color” who had to have the standards lowered for them.

  18. Alton Scott August 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    How smart does one have to be to hold a fire hose? The job entails a lot more than holding a fire hose. Most firemen nowadays are paramedics or EMTs that require a lot of book smarts. Not to mention the mathematics required to be a pump engineer and figure friction loss and gallons of water available per minute based on source pressure and hose diameter and pump pressures using algebra. Then there is the chemistry of hazardous materials that must be learned. Then it’s the Incident Command System and the National Emergency Management System training required of all firemen. That is just a few of the things firemen must be smart enough to comprehend and implement. It’s pretty arrogant of you to make light of something you don’t know anything about.

  19. Question Diversity August 19, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    A recent St. Louis Fire Department promotion test was hauled into Federal court, and it was said to be discriminatory. One of the questions on it was this: If you are 90 feet away from the fire, and your hoses are all 30 feet long, how many hoses must you connect together to reach the fire? Keep in mind this was a promotion test, not an entrance test, so 90 divided by 30 is not a level of mathematics expected of the line level firefighters in St. Louis City, only the Captains and Battalion Chiefs.

  20. Anonymous August 19, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    @Angry Bird #7

    I just wanted to ad some more info about the “New Haven 20” Fire Departments struggle with this same issue. The link below explains the whole issue from beginning to end and is a good read.

    The test was outsourced to an independent company specifically to eliminate discrimination. They made more questions to be oral to accommodate blacks and they still didn’t pass.