Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics


The de Blasio Administration agreed yesterday to $98 million in back-pay to settle a class action lawsuit that the Fire Department entrance exams were racially biased against people of color. Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis had mandated reforms to increase the diversification of the force in 2011, but his decision that the discrimination was intentional was overruled by a U.S. Court of Appeals, leading to the class action suit.. A trial was scheduled for the end of this month. In 2002 the Vulcan Society, a group of black firefighters, brought the original complaint to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It was handed over to the courts in 2007. As part of the settlement, the department agreed to appoint a chief of diversity and inclusion, and the city even asked that Garaufis oversee the settlement. The number of minority firefighters has increased from 8 percent in 2002 to 16 percent in 2013, according to the Fire Department. The department is one agency still awaiting appointment of a new commissioner by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
It's Sunshine Week!
Tune in today: As part of national efforts to bring more transparency to government, Citizens Union, along with Reinvent Albany and NYPIRG will live-webcast four State Assembly committee meetings this morning. Starting with a press conference at 10:15 a.m. and using mobile phones to show how easy and inexpensive it can be for the Assembly to webcast its committee meetings, members of these good government organizations will live-stream committee meetings via a special page at Currently, the Assembly does not publicly broadcast its committee meetings, while the State Senate does (as does the NY City Council).
Tune in to watch the live webcast of Assembly committee meetings and join the conversation via #citizenwebcasts on Twitter.
Date: Wednesday, 3/19/14
Time: 10:15 a.m. press conference; 11 a.m.-noon committee meetings
For a quick primer on what is and what is not transparent about our state and city governments, read Gotham Gazette’s informative article, “ Letting the Sun In: The State of New York Government Transparency.”
(Note: Gotham Gazette is a publication of Citizens Union Foundation)
New at Gotham Gazette
Opinion:  Expanding de Blasio’s Agenda for Youth Opportunities
by CUNY professors Robert Cherry and David C. Bloomfield

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