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FDNY Considers Hiring Convicted Felons

NEW YORK -- New York's Bravest can also be the baddest.

The FDNY will consider hiring convicted felons with a "Certificate of Good Conduct" from the state parole board, the department said in a notice posted last week. Such applicants will get a "special review."

The notice to potential applicants includes the text of a state law aimed at stopping employment discrimination against ex-cons who have done time and stayed clean.

"It's not something we signed up for or control. It's something we have to abide by," said FDNY spokesman Jim Long.

Sources said the posting stems from the court case in which Brooklyn federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis has ordered the FDNY to remedy racial imbalances.

"This is the first time I've ever seen the FDNY say, 'Hey, this is something you can do,' " said Paul Mannix, an FDNY deputy chief and president of Merit Matters, a group opposed to hiring quotas.

Mannix said he doesn't object to the exception for felons "as long as it's applied equally."

The city's notice of exams for firefighter applicants still states that convicted felons "are not eligible for appointment to this position."

Firefighters are designated peace officers who may conduct searches and issue summonses.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said no exceptions apply to cops: "A felony conviction is an absolute bar to employment as a police officer," he said.

City firefighter Patrick Quagliariello was allowed to join the FDNY in 2004, despite a 1991 conviction for felony attempted assault, after the state parole board granted him a Certificate of Good Conduct.



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