Saturday, July 25, 2015

Chicago Belatedly Begins to Address the Horrific Effects of Segregated Standards/Race-Gender-Based Preferences

Image result for Mikva Commission
Chicago's Mikva Commission

Last Summer (August 18th, 2014) the Chicago Tribune’s Editors published an editorial calling for a return to merit based hiring for firefighters in that city. (

“Ten years ago this summer, Chicago debated preferential treatment for some firefighters. In the wake of a killer fire at an office building owned by Cook County, a commission headed by former federal Appellate Judge Abner Mikva not only criticized several Chicago Fire Department commanders, but implicitly questioned how they got their jobs. Mikva's panel essentially said the department had ill-prepared leaders battling a blaze in which six people needlessly died. Commission member and retired Judge Sheila Murphy said several of the fire officials "did not know what they were doing."

“This was treacherous ground, as members of the so-called Mikva Commission knew when they called for promotions based on competitive exams and merit. We wrote at the time that acrimony over preferences — be they driven by raw patronage, ethnic politics, City Hall clout or affirmative action — is frequently evident in this sharp-elbowed city, although not often calmly discussed.”

That editorial ended with this reasonable call, “Any of us, trapped in a smoke-choked stairwell, would have three questions on our minds: Is the person who's assigned to save my life the BEST firefighter the city of Chicago COULD hire? Is his or her boss the best-qualified commander? And can I trust that neither one will let me die?”

Nor is this an isolated incident, Philadelphia is STILL investigating the December 9th, 2014 fatal fire that killed firefighter Joyce Craig, the first female firefighter to die in a fire in that city.

Some have called that fire a “perfect storm of errors.” In that blaze, firefighter Craig was paired with an inexperienced young firefighter who’d reportedly struggled through the Fire Academy. That woman, sources said, is related to a highly placed member of Mayor Nutter's administration.

That firefighter, who has not been named because she hasn't been charged with any infractions, was immediately transferred to fire headquarters after Craig's death, according to reports

These aren’t isolated incidents, they are trends. Trends that result when well-intentioned people embrace the notion that basic cognitive and physical standards amount to mere “barriers to diversity.”

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