Federal Judge Orders Monitor to Oversee FDNY Hiring

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A federal judge in New York wants an independent monitor to oversee the FDNY's hiring and recruiting practices.

Judge Nicholas Garaufis issued the decision on Monday as the city is making a new push to recruit minority applicants for it a revamped entrance exam early next year.

Last month, the city touted that nearly half of the applicants for the new exam are minorities.

Darius Charney, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, said the city's recruiting efforts have improved, but, as the judge pointed out in his ruling, the city's new recruiting "happened within the context of the ongoing lawsuit."

The Center for Constitutional Rights is representing the Vulcan Society, a group of black firefighters that brought a lawsuit against the city, claiming previous FDNY entry exams discriminated against minority applicants.

The city's law department and the FDNY issued a joint statement opposing the decision and their intent to appeal.

Mayor Bloomberg defended the city's recruiting efforts during a news conference on Monday, noting that more than 61,000 applicants signed up.

"I think it's fair to say no previous administration has done more, or been as successful in attracting the diversity to the FDNY than we have," he said.

He also took a defensive stance when asked to respond to a federal judge's assessment that an overseer is needed - and the fact that the number of black firefighters in the city has remained at three percent since he took office.

"The judge was not elected to run the city, and you can rest assured that we'll be in court for a long time," Bloomberg answered.