Syracuse settles reverse discrimination lawsuit over firefighter jobs

The three plaintiffs sued over being turned down in 2004 for firefighter jobs that they say were unfairly given to black applicants who scored lower on a civil service exam.

Scott Wilkinson, of Liverpool, is a volunteer firefighter with the Moyers Corners Fire Dept. He and David Vivenzio, of Syracuse, a volunteer firefighter with the Mattydale Fire Dept., jointly sued the City of Syracuse because they say the city hired minority firefighter candidates even though they had higher scores.

The city of Syracuse has settled a reverse discrimination lawsuit filed by three men who say they were denied jobs as firefighters because they’re white.

The three men will share $110,000 under the settlement – far less than the amounts they were seeking, according to the city’s lawyer, Corporation Counsel Mary Anne Doherty.

But the lawsuit has prompted city officials to look into modifying the 32-year-old court document that was at the heart of the case, Doherty said. It’s a 1980 consent decree that gave the city permission to racially discriminate with justification.


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