From the New York Post:
With a federal discrimination lawsuit looming, the FDNY announced yesterday that the last firefighter exam had produced the most diverse group of applicants in its history, with minorities expected to account for one-third of future hires.
"We are finally making strides in increasing diversity," declared Mayor Bloomberg at FDNY Headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn.
"This is an unprecedented result," agreed Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. "The numbers are really quite spectacular."
Of 21,183 applicants who passed the written firefighter exam last January, 38 percent were minorities - nearly double the 21 percent who passed the previous exam, in 2002.
More importantly, according to the mayor, minorities held 33 percent of the slots among the 4,000 highest scorers, the group most likely to be hired off the civil-service list over the next four years.
The test was changed this year, said Martha Hirst, commissioner of the Department of Citywide Services, to reflect "basic aptitude abilities," such as judgment, ability to work with others, reading and memorization skills.