NAACP seeks more black firefighters

November 07, 2003|By Jason Song | Jason Song,SUN STAFF

The Anne Arundel County chapter of the NAACP called on Annapolis officials yesterday to hire more black and minority firefighters, joining recent demands from elected officials and black firefighters for improved minority staffing.

"The city needs to come up with a plan to improve," said Gerald G. Stansbury, president of the group, who also asked Mayor Ellen O. Moyer to address the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter at a Nov. 14 banquet.

Out of 101 city fire employees, nine are black.

The department once was under a federal consent decree mandating that 30 percent of employees be minorities. That decree lapsed in the late 1990s.

The issue re-emerged last week when Alderman George O. Kelley Sr. said that some black firefighters felt left out during negotiations over a union contract the city council was due to approve. The council tabled consideration of the contract.

Shortly afterward, the Black Fire Fighters Association said it wanted the consent decree to be revived. The association represents the interests of black firefighters but is not an official union.

Annapolis Fire Chief Edward P. Sherlock said the department has hired minorities but has had trouble retaining them. All of the minorities left for jobs with higher pay and better benefits, Sherlock said. The low number of minority employees is "not from a lack of effort," he said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Through a spokeswoman, Moyer said she was unaware of the NAACP's invitation or request.

Moyer has formed a task force to examine the department's minority recruitment and retention process.

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