BIAS SUIT DEAL. EMS SETTLES IN CLAIM OF RACE-BASED PROMOTIONS

BY
JONATHAN LEMIRE
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, October 17, 2006, 12:00 AM
TWO EMERGENCY Medical Service lieutenants who charged they were passed over for promotions because of their race settled their lawsuit against the FDNY yesterday – and will get to sit down with a top fire official to urge reform. Frank Andino, 49, and Sylvia Good, 51, will have the unusual meeting with Chief of Department Salvatore Cassano within 30 days. They plan to push for all high-level EMS promotions to be done by a color-blind written test – and not by interview. “They can promote who they want, and they do it along racial lines,” said Andino, who is Latino and joined the EMS in 1980. “They don’t want people of color at that rank.

” Andino and Good filed the federal suit last year seeking promotions to captain, claiming the FDNY was keeping minority-group members out of its highest levels. “Every year I’d wait for the system to change and it never did, so we decided to take action,” said Good, who is black and has been with the EMS since 1987. “People who were less qualified but white were getting the promotions that others deserved.

” All promotions in the fire-suppression side of the Fire Department are determined by a written exam, as are all EMS promotions in the ranks below captain, officials said. But, since the EMS was merged with the FDNY in 1996, EMS promotions to captain and above are determined by an evaluation and an interview. Currently, 96 of the 346 EMS lieutenants are minorities, about 27%, according to FDNY statistics. And 13 of the 71 EMS captains are minorities, about 18%. Top FDNY spokesman Frank Gribbon said only, “The terms [of the settlement] were specific to the issues in the case.

” Both Andino and Good each were awarded $50,000 in the settlement, said their lawyer Colleen Meenan. Andino was also offered a promotion to captain, although Good did not receive a higher rank. An FDNY source said that promotion procedures are constantly under review, but pointed out that while Andino consistently scored an “Outstanding” on his reviews, Good did not qualify for a promotion. “My own fate doesn’t matter,” said Good. “We’re really trying to do this for EMS officers of color who are coming after us.

” jlemire@nydailynews.com

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