Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Fired Up -- Chief Sherman George

There's a battle going on in St. Louis between Mayor Francis Slay and Fire Chief Sherman George, regarding the lack of promotions inside the department. No one has been promoted to Fire Captain or Battalion Chief for several years because of disagreements over whether the promotion exams administered in 2004 were biased against minority firefighters. A federal judge ruled that the test was valid, but Chief George still refuses to issue any promotions based on the exam.

It's a matter with serious racial implications, as there has long been a rift between the black and white firefighters in the city -- they go out and fight fires together, but once back in the firehouse, they do not get along at all. There's even a firefighters benevolent association (FIRE) made up exclusively of black members who do not belong to the almost-all-white Local 73 of their union.

The Mayor posted an open letter to the Chief on his website yesterday. This afternoon, I invited Chief George onto my KMOX show to address these issues and reply to Mayor Slay. Listen.