One of the ironies of the legal assault on merit and standards (the FDNY’s standards have been low for quite some time) by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Vulcan Society leadership is that some of their primary arguments against merit and standards must be music to the City Negotiator’s ears. That would be the ones that go, “Firefighting is no more dangerous than most other professions,” and that “Fires will ultimately go out by themselves, so it doesn’t really matter who responds to them.”
How does the UFA and the UFOA go about seeking raises when statements like that, from Fire Officers within their ranks, are on record?
In fact, how does the City not look to roll back pay and benefits in light of such statements?
Some have maintained that the Unions COULD argue that those statements are the kind often made by Officers many allege to be notorious for often not making the fire floor of the fires they’ve responded to, but such a defense would be IMMATERIAL from the City’s standpoint.
Those statements were, in fact, made and they were made by active duty Fire Officers.
It’s long been argued in academic circles that such Municipal jobs could be turned into employment for the poor and underprivileged simply by reducing, if not eliminating the competition from College educated applicants and the most effective way of doing that would be to freeze pay rates and reduce benefits until such positions are no longer tenable, let alone attractive to College educated applicants.
In fact, recently The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court’s decision that the city did not discriminate against Robert Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate, who took the exam in 1996, scoring 33 points, the equivalent of an IQ of 125, but New London police interviewed only candidates who scored 20 to 27, on the theory that those who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after undergoing costly training, on the grounds that the same standards were applied to everyone who took the test.
That bit of academic supposition (that lowered standards, along with lowered pay and benefits would increase the hiring of the chronically unemployed and unemployable) is probably correct, but it rests on the SAME view offered by at least one Vulcan Society leader that “Fires will generally go out on their own regardless of who responds,” OR that qualifications are superfluous.
THAT, of course, is a deeply flawed proposition.
Fires DO NOT go out of their own accord, EXCEPT due to a “lack of fuel,” which means when the fuel supply (buildings, contents, etc.) is eventually exhausted.
We don’t witness many, if any “fuel-starved fires” in New York City because of a well-trained, professional firefighting force and an aggressive interior attack strategy.
What the Vulcan Society’s leadership and those academics are, in fact, arguing for is a stripped down, skeleton of the existing FDNY, one that would simply defensively fight fires and write off those entire blocks where fires occur as “ancillary fuel loads.”
So, apparently there exist at least two visions for the FDNY, the UFA’s and the UFOA’s vision of a well-trained, professional firefighting force, which is predicated on its current “aggressive interior attack” model and the Vulcan Society’s leadership model predicated on a less well trained (substandard applicants are not going to do well with advanced training), defensive force that would work for lower pay and fewer benefits.
It all comes down to which vision for the future of the FDNY and the future of New York City you support.