Up & Coming Weekly

June 13, 2017

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 11 of 32

JUNE 14-20, 2017 UCW 11 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM At the suggestion of City Councilman Chalm- ers McDougald, the City of Fayetteville is asking the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Com- mission to examine the fire department's hiring practices. City Manager Doug Hewett told City Council he has asked the Raleigh office of the EEOC to look into concerns that the depart- ment has been unable to attract, recruit and hire minority firefighters. McDougald took the lead among African- American council members in determining why only a few of the city's 300 firefighters are black or another minority. "If there's something we can do better, we will do it," Hewett told Coun- cil during a work session that attracted several dozen minority residents. is is the first time the EEOC has been asked to intervene in city minority hiring practices since a similar examination of the police de- partment was undertaken 20 years ago. Little has changed in the diversity of either public safety de- partment in the two decades since. Of the city's 433 police officers, only 80, or 19 per- cent, are black, according to Acting Chief Anthony Kelley. ere are fewer than a dozen African-Amer- ican members of the fire department. Ironically, the chiefs of both departments are black. Hewett received City Council's permission to make an exception in state law allowing him to release per- sonnel information that is normally kept private. In the most recent hiring process, 693 applications were received. Four hundred sixteen were white males. One hundred thirty were African-American men. For the convenience of applicants, they were told to schedule themselves to take the initial written exam. Only 70 of the black applicants made appoint- ments, according to information provided by Fire Chief Ben Major. Of that number, 53 showed up to take the test; 27 of them passed the exam and quali- fied for the physical exam. In response to questions from Council members, Chief Major said the written test is fair and mea- sures math and reading comprehension at a 10th-grade level. About the same percentage of white applicants took the initial test; 141 of the 416 applicants passed the written test. But a significantly larger number of white appli- cants advanced to take the PT test. Speaking on the lack of diversity, "We know we are nowhere where we want to be," Major said. Mayor Pro Tem Mitch Colvin wanted to know when he could expect to see some results of EEOC findings designed to increase minority participation. Hewett said if the EEOC declines to do a review, the city will hire a consultant specializing in the field to do a similar probe. For his part, Councilman McDougald said he was glad the city would seek an inde- pendent review. "at means we are taking constructive action on our own to make this right," McDougald said. He said he decided to back off from his initial determination to take the administration to task. He's one of two church pastors on Council. All four black members of council, including Bill Crisp and Larry Wright, made comments during the hour-long meeting. Fayetteville Investigates Fire Department's Racial Diversity Issue by JEFF THOMPSON City Manager Doug Hewett told City Council he has asked the Raleigh office of the EEOC to look into concerns that the fire department has been unable to attract, recruit and hire minority firefighters. NEWS FTCC Corporate & Continuing Education EMT-Initial - starts June 19 & August 7 CATV/Communications Cabling- starts July 10 Prepare to Get Certified at FTCC! Register Now! ( 9 1 0 ) 6 7 8 - 8 4 3 2 • V i e w o u r c l a s s s c h e d u l e o r r e g i s t e r b y v i s i t i n g w w w. f a y t e c h c c . e d u / c o n t i n u i n g - e d u c a t i o n Call Us Today! Welding Technology (Mig, Tig, Stk, & Oxy) starts July 10 JEFF THOMPSON, Senior News Reporter. COMMENTS? news@upandcomingweekly. com. 910.484.6200.

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