Staten Island Advance, N.Y.
The FDNY has, for the first time, distributed an anti-nepotism policy to employees, according to the New York Daily News.
In one instance, a chief fire marshal was accused of supervising his brother — including signing off on his timesheets — and in the other, two employees failed to disclose that they were family.
The city has many storied FDNY families, but critics say that nepotism has run rampant in the department.
Former Mayor David Dinkins once called the FDNY “the white man’s social club,” and for more than a decade, the department has faced a mandate to diversify its staff and remake its hiring practices.
In 2014, the department settled a 2007 class action lawsuit that involved about 1,500 Hispanic and Black FDNY employees who claimed that employment entrance exams discriminated against minorities.
Some individual payments were made for emotional damage, in addition to a $98 million settlement for lost back pay and benefits.
And as recently as 2018, a Staten Island man filed a federal lawsuit against the department alleging that racism and nepotism destroyed his dream to be a firefighter.
Andre Laurant, a 44-year-old African American man from Bulls Head was twice denied entry into the FDNY. He compared his experience to that of Joseph Cassano, the white son of a former fire commissioner, who graduated from the FDNY academy despite a history of racist posts on social media.
“I wanted to make a difference in a community,” Laurant said at the time.
The new two-page anti-nepotism document says that FDNY employees cannot hire or supervise anyone “closely related to them.”
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