New York City Mayor Eric Adams today signed a package of five bills to improve diversity within the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY). The bills aim to address recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups within the department, as well as requiring the implementation of diversity, inclusion, anti-discrimination, and anti-harassment training.
“Our FDNY frontline heroes keep our city safe day in and day out, and today we take another step to strengthen and support New York City’s Bravest,” said Mayor Adams. “New York City’s diversity is our strength, and these five bills will help build a more inclusive FDNY that is reflective of the millions of New Yorkers we serve. I am grateful to our colleagues in the City Council for their partnership and commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive Fire Department for generations to come.”
“Diversity is strength, and this legislation will make New York’s Bravest even stronger,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III. “Today’s FDNY is striving to be more inclusive, accessible, and reflective of our communities. With these new tools and under the leadership of Commissioner Kavanagh — the department’s first female commissioner — we will continue to strive toward that goal.”
“Diversity is at the heart of our city’s strength, and our commitment as an agency is first and foremost to the people we serve. The FDNY will set the bar for the fire service by attracting the best talent this city has to offer, serving each neighborhood as though it was our own, and ensuring each member of our FDNY family can thrive, grow as leaders, and inspire future generations,” said FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. “Mayor Adams, Speaker Adams, and the City Council are true partners in that mission, and I look forward to working closely with them to achieve it.”
Intro. 516-A — sponsored by New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams — establishes a recruitment and retention plan for firefighters. The bill requires the FDNY, in consultation with the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), to develop and implement a plan to recruit and retain individuals from underrepresented populations within the rank of firefighter.
Intro. 519-A — sponsored by New York City Councilmember Joann Ariola — requires a survey of permanent firehouse upgrades to establish a working environment that facilitates use by a mixed-gender workforce. The bill requires the FDNY to survey each firehouse to determine the permanent facility upgrades necessary to facilitate use by a mixed-gender workforce. Upon completion of the survey, the FDNY will then submit a report on the findings of the survey detailing permanent facility upgrades necessary at each firehouse, the feasibility of implementing such upgrades, and any construction plans to make such upgrades.
Intro. 552-A — sponsored by New York City Councilmember Kevin Riley — requires the FDNY to submit an annual report on the number of employees assigned to each firehouse or special operations unit, disaggregated by gender and race or ethnicity, as well as the number of individuals who reside within the immediate service area of each fire company, disaggregated by gender and race or ethnicity.
Intro. 553-A — also sponsored by Councilmember Riley — requires the FDNY, in consultation with DCAS, to develop and implement a plan for providing ongoing training and education to all employees regarding diversity and inclusion, including training on the department’s anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies. FDNY will also be required to post an annual report on its website regarding efforts taken to implement such training.
Intro. 560-A — sponsored by New York City Councilmember Nantasha Williams — requires the FDNY to submit an annual report on complaints filed with the department’s Equal Employment Opportunity office regarding potential violations of the city’s Equal Employment Opportunity policy. The report will include information on the number of complaints that resulted in corrective action taken by the FDNY, further disaggregated by the form of corrective action, including, but not limited to, formal reprimands, fines, loss of pay or benefits, transfers, suspensions, demotions, and terminations.
“New York City’s firefighters protect our city and save lives every single day, yet it remains clear that FDNY is not representative of our city’s diversity,” said Speaker Adams. “I am proud these new laws passed by the council and signed today help advance the department’s recruitment and retention of women and people of color from all communities as firefighters. This package of bills becoming law marks a significant step forward to ensure that New York’s Bravest are more equitably composed of people from New York City’s entire gorgeous mosaic. I thank my colleagues in the council for working collaboratively to pass this important legislation and Mayor Adams for signing the bills into law.”
“I am proud to sponsor legislation that will lead to upgrades for our fire houses to have adequate areas for both men and women to tend to their personal needs,” said Councilmember Ariola. “I will continue to fight for the members of the FDNY in every aspect of their job.”
“As co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, it is a priority for this city that all legislation passed through the council upholds a true means of diversity and inclusion that seeks to benefit and protect all New Yorkers,” said Councilmember Riley. “I am honored to stand alongside the mayor and my colleagues at the signing of this legislative package that will transform the lack of diversity and inclusion within the FDNY. My bills, Int. 552-A and 553-A, further support this goal through annual demographics reporting and ongoing training for all fire department employees — opening clear measures for transparency and accountability. Today, we make our mark to address generations of systemic disparities within our infrastructure, as well as to create more welcoming and safe workplaces for all New Yorkers. Thank you Mayor Adams for signing this transformative bill package into law, and for the continued partnership with the New York City Council to support a more equitable city.”
“After receiving a number of complaints regarding diversity and discrimination in the FDNY, I was proud to sponsor this bill. Int. 560 would hold the Fire Department accountable with the goal to remedy the complaints filed against them. This bill would require the Fire Department to submit an annual report to the mayor and the Speaker of the City Council, and to publish this report on the department’s website for public access,” said Councilmember Williams. “The report would include information on the number of complaints that resulted in corrective action taken by the Fire Department, further disaggregated by the form of corrective action, including but not limited to formal reprimand, fine, loss of pay or benefits, transfer, suspension, demotion and termination. I would like to thank Fire and Emergency Management Chair, Joann Ariola, my colleagues that have also sponsored bills included in this package, Speaker Adrienne Adams for her leadership and Mayor Eric Adams for signing this bill into law.”