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Judge orders end to Boston's affirmative action plan

BOSTON (AP) -- A federal judge has ordered the Boston Police Department to end its affirmative action hiring plan put in place 30 years ago in a consent decree over racial discrimination, ruling that the department has accomplished its minority hiring goals.

U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris granted a request on Tuesday from eight white men denied jobs last year as police officers that she strike down the department's policy of hiring one minority candidate for every white candidate hired.

The ruling ends three decades of affirmative action hiring at the police department, which had been following a 1974 consent decree requiring that the percentage of black and Hispanic officers reflect their percentage in the city's population. The fire department had been under the same consent decree, but their policy was thrown out in March of last year.

In her ruling, Saris wrote that the police department met its goal of racial parity more than a year ago. To have used the racial hiring quota in October 2003, when plaintiff Paul DeLeo Jr. and seven other men were passed over, was unconstitutional.

Attorney Harold L. Lichten, who represented the eight men, said the ruling means that new officers will be hired on the basis of their scores, "not on whether they are black or white."

Saris gave the two sides 15 days to decide how to provide relief to the eight men, all of whom still hope to be hired.

Nadine Cohen, an attorney with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said the police department could revert back to the racial imbalance that the consent decree was supposed to remedy.

"We do not want to see a segregated police force," she said. "That's where we started out."

The decree was the result of a 1970 lawsuit by black and Hispanic candidates denied positions as police officers.

Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole released a statement last night saying she wanted to reassure city residents that the ruling "does not mean that the department is abandoning its commitment to diversity," but the decree "was not intended to last forever."
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:fun: :punk: :t: :DB: :icon_hum: :BNANA:

I have always hated any form of race based hiring method and this is the best news I've heard all day.
 

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Depending on how many minorities they overhired, those people will likely be offered a job with seniority and retro money dated to Oct 2003. This is what happened to the Fire Department and this will probably be the same. If someone got a hundred (obviously)or even maybe a 99 on that exam they may be forced to hire them. :lol:
 

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Its about time, I just can't believe that this went through in Massachusetts. Someday, hopefully all forms of discrimination will be eliminated, but I'm not holding my breath.
 

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WOW!!!!

Maybe now, my "Civil Circus" test score of 100 and bachelor's degree can at least stand a chance of getting a card. At least I don't have to compete with that "non-disabled-vet" who gets a 74 and is hired in no time flat.

Like I have always said, if I perform poorly on the test and someone with a better score gets hired instead of me.....shame on me and good for them!!! The best applicant for the job should be hired.......period!!!!!
 

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Its about time, even though I am a disabled vet and have a major advantage to begin with, its still not fair to hire based on race. Just think what would happen if someone proposed to have affirmative action giving whites preference since the police and fire departments in Boston now more than reflect the amount of minorities living in the city.
 

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Veteran status (disabled or not) is EARNED. One's ethnic background is an ascribed trait and is therefore given. That is the big difference between the two. One does not compare to the other.

Affirmative Action=race based hiring practices (would be illegal is it were praticed the other way around)

Veterans Preferance=special preferance given to thoes who are/were willing to defend our country in peace and war time. (another way of saying thanks from a grateful nation)
 

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Well apparently BPD is serious about getting rid of veterans preferance after reading today's Globe, although I cant imagine the state legislature making these changes unless its the most chickenshit liberal voting for it. I think it would be political suicide to vote against vets right now.
 

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Changes in Boston PD hiring

Changes in police hiring weighed
O'Toole eyes shift from test scores
By Andrea Estes, Globe Staff | November 28, 2004

In the aftermath of a federal court ruling overturning Boston's 30-year-old quota system, Police Commissioner Kathleen M. O'Toole said she is eyeing radical changes in police hiring that may include eliminating the civil service exam or making it pass-fail.

O'Toole told the Globe she wants to shift from the city's heavy reliance on the test, which favors white applicants, to focus on more subjective factors, such as background, training, and foreign language skills that would allow the city to hire minority police officers.

''I'm not enamored of the current system," O'Toole said. ''I'm not convinced that test scores are the best indicator."

But a new system should be designed to prevent favoritism, she said. ''Whatever we end up with has to be fair and attract the best candidates. We can't go to a purely political process."

O'Toole said she is considering two other changes: a revision in the law that gives veterans preference in hiring, which critics say often favors white applicants in Massachusetts, and heavier use of the police cadet program, once a bastion of whites, to attract and train minority applicants.

The commissioner's proposals, some of which would require legislative approval, are the first to surface as Boston contemplates an era without the 1974 federal consent decrees ordering the city's police and fire departments to hire more members of minority groups.

In September, 41 percent of Boston's 1,344 patrolmen were minority members, but O'Toole said she wants to avoid backsliding.

''A police department needs to reflect the community it serves," she said. ''This is a different Boston. We need a department that is ethnically and racially diverse."

Last week, US District Judge Patti B. Saris ordered the Police Department to scrap its longtime practice of hiring one minority applicant for each white, ruling that the department has enough minority members among its patrolmen. A similar ruling last year by a federal appeals court found that the Boston Fire Department had achieved racial balance among its firefighters and must abandon its affirmative action plan.

Both departments could now simply choose applicants based on their scores on the statewide civil service tests.

But O'Toole and lawyers on both sides acknowledge that hiring strictly by test scores would probably produce a work force that will, over time, revert to predominantly white members. Fewer minorities take the test, and those who take the test generally don't score as well as whites, records have shown.

Under the quota system, white and minority applicants are listed according to test scores. The city hires one minority member for every white applicant. But since minorities usually scored lower on the test, many white applicants with higher, often perfect, scores were passed over in favor of lower-scoring members of minority groups.

A Globe analysis of Boston Police Department hiring in 2003 showed that minority applicants needed to score 97 or better to be hired. Hundreds of white applicants scored higher than 97 but were bypassed.

According to the state's Human Resources Division, which oversees civil service, only two minority members would have been hired for the October 2003 class if the department had chosen strictly by test score.

Harold Lichten, the lawyer who sued the city on behalf of eight white applicants for patrolman, said officials should consider a banding plan adopted by several other cities, including San Francisco, Chicago, and Bridgeport, Conn. This plan, which has been ruled constitutional by other courts, allows officials to combine into one group applicants with close test scores and hire anyone from that group.

In recent affirmative action rulings, the US Supreme Court and other federal courts have said that although quotas are unconstitutional, race cannot be the only factor in hiring and college admissions.

Under a banding plan, ''you would take everyone within a certain range and then have an interview process," Lichten said. ''You would look for the best candidate based on suitable experience and background. If you gave race and veteran's status consideration, versus an absolute preference, you'd get a system that is both constitutionally permissible and will get you more minorities in the mix."

Banding would require a change in the civil service law or a court order, Lichten said.

In her ruling, Saris said banding makes sense because minimal differences in test scores may be meaningless to city officials.

O'Toole said test scores are often so close that banding could require officials to consider hundreds of applicants for one class of recruits.

She is looking instead to a model like that used by the Connecticut State Police, which requires applicants to pass a standardized test and then undergo a rigorous process that includes an interview, physical test, and psychiatric screening.

''We're not saying we get perfect candidates, but we weed out a lot of people that way," said Trooper William Tate of the Connecticut State Police. ''It's hard to get on the job. It takes six or seven months."

The city should create a commission to craft solutions, which should include the elimination of civil service, said Leonard Alkins, president of the Boston branch of the NAACP. ''It has outlived its usefulness and tends to feed into the disparities that we've faced.

''With unions we have today, why do we need civil service?" he said, referring to unions' traditional protection of workers faced with unfair hiring and employment practices.

Absolute veterans' preferences should be eliminated, Alkins said. ''Those preferences have always been the major problem in hiring as opposed to affirmative action. People have never wanted to admit it. Those preferences were put in place by the Legislature as the white person's affirmative action plan."

Though the military is considered one of the most diverse employers in the United States, Alkins argued that Massachusetts military veterans traditionally have tended to be white, though he conceded ''there may be more [minorities] now because of the education benefits."

He said the city should have fought to retain the affirmative action plan, which he believes is still necessary because of lingering racism.

''Just because 30 years have come and gone doesn't necessarily mean there is no need for it," he said. The NAACP is an intervenor in the case and filed the original lawsuit in the early 1970s.

As for the men who successfully sued the city, they're hoping to be rewarded with jobs, even though they are not guaranteed them. Only one, Paul DeLeo Jr., scored so high, 101, that he would have been hired if the affirmative action plan had not been in effect when he applied. DeLeo scored 100 on the test and received another point because he was on the Newton police force.

The others, even though they received 100s, came in behind several white applicants who had veterans' preferences. Those veterans may now be eligible for jobs instead of the plaintiffs in the case. Customarily, the city conducts a lottery if several prospective employees get identical scores.

One of the plaintiffs, Christopher Carr, an investigator for the Suffolk district attorney's office and the son of a veteran Boston police detective, is hoping that the department reaches out to him and others who have been trying to get onto the force for years.

''Growing up with my dad being a police officer, that's the only thing I've ever wanted to do," said Carr, 26. ''It meant everything. I want the job, and I'm jealous of the guys who have the job, that they get to put on that uniform every day.

''I'm not here to make a statement," he added. ''I'm just here to say that I believe I deserved a shot at the police academy, because I had scored a perfect score."
 

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Re: Changes in Boston PD hiring

So now they are to do away with affirmative action and the CLEO looks for a way to get arround that?

To be truely unbiased, why not remove name, sex, race, religion etc from the application.

Everyone that takes the test is assigned a number, tests are graded and only then the numbers are matched to names...and letter go out.

Simple, don't ask about race, religion, sex, skin color etc...it never becomes a factor in how people are hired. A true meritocracy based on performance only.
 

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Re: Changes in Boston PD hiring

It seems to me that they are saying "only [insert the victim group of your choice] can police that groups problems.

Bull hockey.

Just another separatist excuse empowered by the chimera of "political correctness"! :evil:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I merged these two threads together since it all had to do with the same thing.
 

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Political Correctness at its best. The consent decree is declared no longer needed so now the current police commisioner wants to take the city's marbles and leave the civil service system. She wants to give a test that involves language and background questions instead of a test that measures your ability to do a law enforcement job. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths some people will go to promote their own agenda.
God forbid the qualified person that gets the best mark gets the job. :sb:
 

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Political Correctness at its best. The consent decree is declared no longer needed so now the current police commisioner wants to take the city's marbles and leave the civil service system. She wants to give a test that involves language and background questions instead of a test that measures your ability to do a law enforcement job. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths some people will go to promote their own agenda.
God forbid the qualified person that gets the best mark gets the job. :sb:
I have taken the Civil Circust Police Officer test and can't really say that it is a strong indicator of your ability to do a law enforcement job. The test is common sense pure and simple. A more specialized test might be better. You also have to remember that the Commissioners job is a political and PR one and O'Toole has to be PC and toe the Menino company line.
 

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All I could think of when I heard about this was "thank GOD, something rational has occurred in this otherwise completely backwards friggin state..."

I finish up on my bachelors degree in CJ in a few months and I was a little worried I'd absolutely flip the fokk out if affirmative action hiring policies made my hard earned degree into a $30,000 napkin when I hit the job market.

Minority hires shouldn't completely be abandoned in Boston though. I think on some level they're necessary whether by merit or otherwise. Blacks obviously relate better to other blacks and latinos to latinos, etc etc... I personally don't think I'd be able to work effectively in someplace where the minority population was enormous like Mattapan being a white man, whether outwardly tough or not. If I applied and was hired in Boston, even living here my whole life, I don't think I'd be able to effectively police people that I can't relate to and that have absolutely no respect for me for the most part.

So I think that even if say a couple of hundred hires with 100 scores (in other words all on merit) are 92% white, I still think more then a few really do need to be minority to fill in the cracks per se in the areas or Boston where they'd make a more effective impact. Ehhhh then again who knows maybe the entire civil service test is bullshit too (heh heh maybe :roll: ... ), but my brain hurts so I'm gonna shut up now...
 
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