HOSERS: Did Steve Volk’s Philly Mag Story About Rampant Reverse Discrimination And Racial Politics In The Fire Dept. Get A Deputy Fire Chief Fired?

PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE:  According to a recent report produced by the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, 87 percent of the department’s white firefighters believe that disciplinary decisions are biased by race; less than 30 percent of all firefighters think that hiring and promotions are done “without regard to race or ethnic background.” Numerous stories of unfair race-based treatment circulate through the city’s engine houses. There is the story about African-American Cory Nuble, who complained that a pair of black lieutenants harassed him for being too friendly with white firefighters. There is the story of Troy Gore, an African-American fire captain and Valiants officer who inquired, in an email, if there was some way for minority candidates to circumvent application deadlines. Gore received a 30-day suspension, then got promoted directly thereafter. And then there’s the one about the African-American lieutenant who brought in a broken cable box from home, swapped it out with a working box at the station, then called Comcast to fix the “station’s” cable box. (Comcast discovered the deception.) The lieutenant had committed a theft, but no formal punishment resulted.  […] There are scores of similar stories. Ayers addresses them all in a bunch, saying that “the whole context” of any given case must be understood to appreciate his decision-making.­ (He also couldn’t discuss specific cases, because the same privacy laws that keep the union from naming names restrict him.) But the most dramatic examples revolve around deputy fire chief Rob Wilkins. Long rumored to be among Mayor Nutter’s potential picks to succeed Ayers, Wilkins was charged in the fall of 2011 with assaulting his wife. The fire department found that he failed to report his arrest, contrary to department regulations. Wilkins, an African-­American and a former Valiants board member, received a 48-hour suspension­. (Ayers confirms this.) In March, Wilkins reached an agreement with the Bucks County D.A., pleading guilty to summary offenses of harassment and disorderly conduct. MORE

INQUIRER: A deputy Philadelphia fire chief was suspended with intent to dismiss Monday after he pleaded guilty last month in Bucks County of offenses related to a physical altercation with his wife, the fire commissioner said. Robert J. Wilkins, 50, had been disciplined for failing to tell the department he had been charged in September for an incident in Warminster involving his wife, said Commissioner Lloyd Ayers. Wilkins pleaded guilty on Mar. 6 to harassment and several counts of disorderly conduct and was sentenced to probation and anger management, court records show. “That’s a very serious infraction,” Ayers said. MORE

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