[IPAC-List] Ricci update

Mark Hammer Mark.Hammer at psc-cfp.gc.ca
Wed Dec 9 15:59:23 EST 2009

So, um, anyone here running to be head of HR for the New Haven Fire Department? Now, don't all put your hands up at once.

I'm the sort who finds far too many movies end with a scenario that is far more interesting than everything leading up to it in the preceding 89 minutes, and wish they'd show what happens next. So here's the million dollar question, if you were overseeing staffing in the New Haven Fire Dept., what would your assessment strategy for the future be?

I'm not saying the court's decision was wrong, or that the plaintiffs are not deserving of promotion, but clearly if the representativeness within the upper ranks was poor before, it is most definitely poorer now. So how does one react to that? Do they revert to banding? Do they start looking immediately for tests with stellar adverse impact specs? Do they treat this as a mere glitch, anomaly, or bit of noise in the long-term trend? How do they fix an imbalance that has just been made worse, and how exactly do they earn the confidence of African-American firefighters within the force that any sort of promotion might be in the stars for them in the future? After all, such promotion exam outcomes depend on the internal labour market, and if you can't assemble an internal talent pool to draw from that holds any promise, you'll NEVER meet your diversity objectives.

Much to ponder, most of it likely not well-understood or considered by the judges in the case. Thanks for the followup, Brian.

Mark Hammer

>>> "Bryan Baldwin" <Bryan.Baldwin at doj.ca.gov> 2009/12/09 3:21 pm >>>

For those that are curious about how the Ricci case ended up:

Judge orders Conn. firefighters promoted ( http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/11/judge_orders_co.html )November 25, 2009 12:10 AM

By John M. Guilfoil, Globe Correspondent
NEW HAVEN -- A US District Court judge ordered that 14 firefighters be promoted and ruled that the city violated their civil rights when the results of fire officer tests were thrown out in 2004 because too few black firefighters passed. The judge ordered that 14 of the plaintiffs be promoted immediately.
The City of New Haven confirmed in a statement Tuesday night that the promotions will be completed as soon as possible, WTNH-TV reported.
The case of Ricci v. DeStefano alleges reverse racism. The lawsuit claimed that New Haven violated the rights of the plaintiffs when it threw out two promotional exams because blacks scored poorly.

The city had claimed, in its own defense, that it threw out the tests out of fear that discrimination lawsuits would arise from the black community. Instead, the 19 white firefighters and one Latino who would have been in line for promotions sued the city.
Firefighters Michael Blatchley, Greg Boivin, Michael Christoforo, Ryan Divito, Steven Durand, Christopher Parker, Frank Ricci, and Mark Vendetto will be promoted to lieutenant.
Advancing to the rank of captain are: Gary Carbone, William Gambardella, Brian Jooss, Matthew Marcarelli, Timothy Scanlon and Benjamin Vargas.
A judge had thrown out the case in 2006. The US Court of Appeals dismissed the claim in 2008. But in June, the US Supreme Court reversed the decision, leading to Tuesday's ruling.
John M. Guilfoil can be reached at jguilfoil at globe.com

Bryan Baldwin
Staff Services Manager II
California Department of Justice
Division of Administrative Support
Personnel Programs
(916) 322-5446

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