Community Demands More Black Firefighters
Dear Mayor Jennings: As residents and advocates for the people of the City of Albany, we urge you and the Common Council to seize upon a unique opportunity to increase the number of minorities among the city's employees. Specifically, we would like minorities to be given special consideration for any open positions in the Albany Fire Department. A report released by the City Treasurer in July of this year described the poor state of affairs regarding the city's employment of minorities. Although nearly thirty percent of the city's residents identify as African American, less than 16% of the city's employees are black. The police and fire departments fall well below the city average; today, only 3.8% (9) of the city's 236 firefighters are African American. This is particularly disturbing in light of the fact that most calls requiring an Albany Fire Department response occur in neighborhoods heavily populated by minorities. While we appreciate the city's outreach efforts, including such measures as the establishment of the fire cadet program, clearly these steps have not been successful in increasing the number of minorities within the Albany Fire Department. We also appreciate the difficulty in increasing hiring during these harsh economic times. Therefore, given this opportunity for new hires, the city should make a special effort to hire minorities for any new open firefighter positions. We appreciate your attention to this matter.