New York, NY – Speaker Adrienne Adams and the New York City Council celebrated a five-bill legislative package to improve diversity within the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) being signed into law today.
The bills in the package — sponsored by Speaker Adams, Council Member Joann Ariola, Council Member Kevin Riley and Council Member Nantasha Williams — seek to address the historic lack of racial and gender diversity in the FDNY. The legislation addresses the recruitment and retention of diverse firefighters, confronts exclusionary practices that undermine diversity, and requires more transparency of FDNY. Specifically, the bills would require FDNY to develop a concrete plan to recruit and retain women and people of color as firefighters, take actions to retrofit firehouses to serve a mixed gender workforce, increase transparency on the demographics of firehouses through public reporting, require ongoing training on harassment, diversity and inclusion for all FDNY staff, and submit a public report on complaints filed with the Department’s Equal Employment Opportunities Office.
“New York City’s firefighters protect our city and save lives every single day, yet it remains clear that FDNY is not representative of our city’s diversity,” said Speaker Adams. “I’m proud these new laws passed by the council and signed today help advance the department’s recruitment and retention of women and people of color from all communities as firefighters. This package of bills becoming law marks a significant step forward to ensure that New York’s Bravest are more equitably composed of people from New York City’s entire gorgeous mosaic. I thank my colleagues in the council for working collaboratively to pass this important legislation and Mayor Adams for signing the bills into law.”
The legislative package contains the following:
Introduction 516-A, sponsored by Speaker Adrienne Adams, would require the FDNY, in consultation with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, to develop and implement a plan for the recruitment and retention of firefighters from underrepresented groups within the department — female firefighters and firefighters of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. FDNY would also be required to report annually on its efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented firefighters.
Introduction 519-A, sponsored by Council Member Joann Ariola, would require the FDNY to survey each firehouse to determine the permanent facility upgrades necessary to create a workplace environment that facilitates use by a mixed gender workforce, and employ interim measures, including erecting physical barriers, in locations awaiting such upgrades. Upon completing the survey, the Department would be required to report its findings to the Council and Mayor, specifically detailing the permanent facility upgrades necessary at each firehouse, as well as providing information related to any current or forthcoming construction plans to make relevant upgrades, and any interim measures taken at firehouses to accommodate a mixed gender workforce until permanent upgrades are made.
Introduction 552-A, sponsored by Council Member Kevin Riley, would require the FDNY to produce an annual report on the number of firefighters assigned to each fire company and special operations unit, within the Department, disaggregated by the gender and race or ethnicity of such firefighters. Additionally, FDNY will be required to provide demographic information of the population residing in the immediate service area of each fire company in the City.
Introduction 553-A, sponsored by Council Member Kevin Riley, would require the FDNY in consultation with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, to develop and implement a plan for providing ongoing training and education to all employees regarding diversity and inclusion, including annual training on the Department’s anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies. Additional interactive training would be required at firehouses where incidents of harassment and discrimination take place on multiple occasions. The Fire Department would also be required to post a report each year on its website regarding efforts taken to implement such training.
Introduction 560-A, sponsored by Council Member Nantasha Williams, would require the FDNY to produce an annual report on complaints filed with the Department’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office regarding potential violations of the City’s Equal Employment Opportunity Policy. The report will include information on the number of complaints that were received and closed during the prior year; information on types of misconduct alleged in such complaints; and case outcomes, including any corrective action taken by the Department.
“As co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, it is a priority for this city that all legislation passed through the council upholds a true means of diversity and inclusion that seeks to benefit and protect all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Kevin Riley, Co-Chair of the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. “I am honored to stand alongside the mayor and my colleagues at the signing of this legislative package that will transform the lack of diversity and inclusion within the FDNY. My bills, Int. 552-A and 553-A, further support this goal through annual demographics reporting and ongoing training for all fire department employees — opening clear measures for transparency and accountability. Today, we make our mark to address generations of systemic disparities within our infrastructure, as well as to create more welcoming and safe workplaces for all New Yorkers. Thank you Mayor Adams for signing this transformative bill package into law, and for the continued partnership with the New York City Council to support a more equitable city.”
“I am proud to sponsor legislation that will lead to upgrades for our fire houses to have adequate areas for both men and women to tend to their personal needs,” said Council Member Joann Ariola. “I will continue to fight for the members of the FDNY in every aspect of their job.”
“After receiving a number of complaints regarding diversity and discrimination in the FDNY, I was proud to sponsor this bill. Int. 560 would hold the Fire Department accountable with the goal to remedy the complaints filed against them. This bill would require the Fire Department to submit an annual report to the mayor and the Speaker of the City Council, and to publish this report on the department’s website for public access,” said Council Member Nantasha Williams. “The report would include information on the number of complaints that resulted in corrective action taken by the Fire Department, further disaggregated by the form of corrective action, including but not limited to formal reprimand, fine, loss of pay or benefits, transfer, suspension, demotion and termination. I would like to thank Fire and Emergency Management Chair, Joann Ariola, my colleagues that have also sponsored bills included in this package, Speaker Adrienne Adams for her leadership and Mayor Eric Adams for signing this bill into law.”