Box 1, Folder 14, Document 22

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Box 1, Folder 14, Document 22

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Atlanta, Georgia
August 15, 1969
Honorabl e Ivan All en, Jr.
Mayor, City of A.t l an ta
City Hall
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Dear f-,iay or Allen:
He have been dea ling iii t h Co1.1 mu nity Re l ati ans and have accepted so1·i1 e of t lle i r
su ggestions re l ativ e to e li Din atin g some pro bl e~s. Various polici es and facts
pertaining to this departmen t are attac hed.
It is ir.ter-<?s t in~ to not ,., th ~ followin a exce r ot f r om the Rep ort of t he Un ite d
St ates Co1i11n-is.,ion on Civil Ri ghts 196 9: entitl ed Fer /\11 th e Peopl e . . . By ./.\11
the Peopl e 1·1 hich has just r ea ched this off-ic e :
11 Despite t he be l at ed ad;n i ss ion of fi r em
2n in t o t he /l.t l anta de; artment
and t he e l abor ate pro ce dur es 1·n i ch s urr0Ui1d2d t he ir i nt rodu cti on, t he
Atlanta Fire Department had a l arge r pr oporti on of :·legroes i n unifo rm
than any ot her ce:ntra l city in the survey and a hi gile r de gr ee of
in teg r ation than many . 11
We are in th e proces s of ie-writi ng th e Rul es and Reg ul ations of the Atlanta Fire
Depa rtment to e li Ji nat e any in equ i t i es in t he old boo k, to e li min ate any
possibility of di s cri mi nat i on or t~ e possi ~ility of any office r over-reacting
1-1ith authority. As soon as this ll as been comp l eted, it ',<J ill be presented to t he
Board of Fire Masters for their approv a l and adopt i on.
We ~voul d 1i ke to stress t i1at any fireman ~-J ho has grie van ces , has three methods by
which to air t hem in t iiis office: by comp l etin 0 a Form 52 (Spe ci al Request ) ,
go throu gh t he Company 0-ffi ce rs and Batt al ion Chi ef , or by use of a Sug ge stion
Form availuble in all stations. Any justifiable gri e vances \<J ill oe strai ghten ed
Yours ve ry truly ,
(, /{J 'd'f-r.A " ~
pl_' O. HILLI AMS, Chief
Atlanta Fire De;-;a rtr:ie nt
POW: 11 a
cc: Mr . W. T. Kn i ght, Chai rman Bo ard of Fi re f·'i as t ers
�The Atlanta Fire Department's only interest is in t he protection of lives and
property from fire. The citizens of Atlanta should have and deserve t he best
fire protection available. In order to accomplish this, we nust have the best
trained, qualified, and experienced personnel in responsible positions
regardless of race, creed, or color.
Fi re Department o ffi cershi p must have le ade rship.
One cannot gain leade rship
Subordinates will not look
upon such an officer as a l eader. Life and property is at stake . Decisions
and act..ions of a fire officer are bused on knowl edge and experience of the job.
Therefore, standards and qualifications must be kept high. Rather than lower
the standards, they should be rais ed.
if standards have to be lov-1e red so one can qua"lify.
Promotions in the Fire Deµartnent are made according to merit and fitness.
The promotional system of the Atlanta Fire Department is set by law.
Anyone r.ieetin'.J t,1e qualifying standards as set fort h Liy the
Promotion al Board will be promoted regar dl ess of race, creed, or
color. We 1,1ill not and do not discriminate for or against anyone
meeting the qualifying standards of this system.
Promot ion ai examin ations for Fire Lieuten&i'its ar.:: h::1d ::very t \·:o
years. To qualify , a i~an must have had f ive years service in the
Fire D2pa rtm2nt . After t he examin ation, t he app licants are li st ed
according to their scores from a combination of th2 written test ,
training school aver age , and sen iority points . This list is
divided into gr.oups of 20 . The first 20 me n are rated at oral
intervi e\vs , and t hi s score is added to their grades fror.i the above
three items. Promotions from t his list are made in order of t he
applicant's fin al score.
So far , the first 7 men have been promoted from the Li eutenant's
examin ation he ld in March of 1969 . The first bl ack f iremen started to
work in April 1963, so that this is t he first year (1 969 ) any of them
have been eli gibl e to ap ply f or promotion to Lieutenan t. There we re 153
applicants, of whom 6 we re bl ack. The first bl ack app licant is in the
6th group of 20 or approxir.1ate ly position 102 on t iie li st.
Promoti ons to Fi re Apparatus Ope r ator are made by appointment. The
Captai n at each station makes these sel ections s ubj ect to t he
approval of the Battali on Chi ef. The men must have i1ad at l east two
years servi ce with t he Fi re De partm2n t and have passed ti1e required
dri ving tests at the Training School. There are nine black firemen
in these pos itions.
�. ~- ·
-·-- ·- ..
Eligible lists for Firemen are established every week after the weekly
intervie\·1s. ·(During 0·larc h, Ap ril, and July of this year, interviews
were held every t vw v,eeks.) As vacancies occur, the Fi re Depart ment
calls the men on a list in t he order of their scores. Each person on
the list of a certain dat e is contacted and offered emp loyme nt be fore
movin g to the next chro nological li s t. O~ce a man is on t he eligi ble
list , he is not by-p assed unless the Fire De partment is unabl e to
contact him by tele phone or letter.
Through July 25, of this ye ar) 60 white men were put on the eli ~i ble
list and 57 black men. Of these, 45 wf1ite men have been employe d and
41 black men.
Of the 86 7 men in t he extinguishing division, over 19% or 165 are black.
Nine of t hese are Fi re Ar,pa ratus Operators and 25 are on Military
Leave. Fireme n that l eave the departn1ent for military service are
reinstate d when they return (this is a Fede r al Law ) and are usually
returned to t he sam2 station from vihich ti iey l eft.
In J an uary of 1959, a grou p of firemen lease d a 5. 7 acre tract of
l and at Lake ! 11 atoona fro:,1 tne JOver nrnen t and organized a cluo
wh ic h ~as call ed Atl anta Firene n 1 s Re creation Club. However, the
Fir2 Depa r tr,12nt nor th e City of At l anta has any j uris diction over the
activiti es of tr1is club. It i s a private organ i zat i on controll ed oy
a Board of Trustees composed of e l even men, 1·1ho adhere to tr1e i'li s '1es
of the majority of t he m2mbe rs, and i s sup ported entirel y by dues pai d
by the membe rs and ma in tai ned througi1 voluntee r services of t he membe rs.

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