Firefighting in the Twin Cities: Reflecting the community

It’s ever been a toss-up as to whether being a firefighter or emergency medical technician is the worst job you could have – or the best. No doubt the hours seem very good (Mpls C-Shift – 48 hours on, 96 off; 24 on, 24 off for the others and St. Paul) – so good that most of them also moonlight in some fashion, even own successful businesses on the side. On the other hand, fighting fires is very risky business. Certainly more firefighters have died on the job than do cops – and busy night with several runs, dangerous or not, can take a serious toll on a guy’s health. Continue Reading

VOICES | City’s lack of an affirmative action plan demeans us all

Affirmative action policies and practices are supposed to assist underserved and underrepresented populations in at least the offering of economic, employment, services, and other opportunities that are made available to White people. The City of Minneapolis, which is the largest employer and purchaser of goods and services as well as spending hundreds of millions of dollars on an annual basis for construction, has not had an affirmative action plan in at least 15 years. The last recorded affirmative action plan that can be found in the City has an effective date of 1989. The Minneapolis Civil Right’s Ordinance section 139.70 clearly states that every department in the City is to submit an affirmative action plan to the city council on a yearly basis. The city council and the mayor are your elected representatives who were elected to represent your interest. Continue Reading

Report: Fewer minorities employed by state compared with a decade ago

Minnesota state agencies barely employ more minorities now than they did in 1997 and a number of departments are showing a decline despite the steady growth of populations of color statewide, according to a new report by the Minnesota State Affirmative Action Association (MSAAA). Further, it appears that the bulk of that slippage has occurred since Gov. Tim Pawlenty took office in early 2003 for reasons that are unclear, according to the 25-page report.Some affirmative action advocates argue that the state of affairs is the result of lackadaisical attitudes toward the related laws, coupled with an unwieldy computerized hiring system — assertions that some state officials deny. Many of the state’s affirmative mandates simply aren’t followed or have makeshift solutions while some statutes are crafted in such a way that they’re impossible to fulfill, the MSAAA report explains. It points out shortcomings such as the absence of a full-time diversity director to oversee affirmative action and equal opportunity efforts, a required position that was cut early in the Pawlenty Administration, with some of those duties being heaped onto an employee relations staffer. Additionally, each of the 1,000-plus departments are supposed to have a diversity point-person, but a good chunk of them don’t and in many cases that role has been reduced. Continue Reading