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CITY OF ATLANTA
DEPARTMENT of FIRE —
46 COURTLAND ST., S. E.
im Weel Whe Sree et August 15, 1 969
Honorable Ivan Allen, dr.
Mayor, City of Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Dear Mayor Allen:
We have been dealing with Community Relations and have accepted some of their
suggestions relative to eliminating some problems. Various policies and facts
pertaining to this department are attacied.
Tt is interasting to note the following excerpt from the Report of the United
States Coninission on Civil Rigiits 1969, entitled For All the People...By All
the People which has just reached tnis office:
"Despite the belated aduission of firemen into the Atlanta departinent
and the elaborate procedures which surrounded their introduction, the
Atlanta Fire Department had a larger proportion of Negroes in uniform
than any other central city in the survey and a higher degree of
integration than many."
We are in the process of re-writing the Rules and Regulations of the Atlanta Fire
Department to eliminate any inequities in the old vook, to eliminate any
possibility of discrimination or tae possibility of any officer over-reacting
with authority. As soon as this has been completed, it will be presented to tne
Board of Fire Masters for their approval and adoption.
We would like to stress taat any fireman who has grievances, has three methods by
which to air them in tiiis office: by completing a Form 52 (Special Request),
go through the Company Officers and Battalion Chief, or by use of a Suggestion
Form available in all stations. Any justifiable grievances will be straightened
Yours very truly,
‘ i) Lisette
- O. WILLIAMS, Chief
Atlanta Fire Desartnent
cc: Mr. W. T. Knight, Chairman Board of Fire Masters
“HELP SAVE LIFE AND PROPERTY BY PREVENTING FIRES"
The Atlanta Fire Department's only interest is in the protection of lives and
property from fire. The citizens of Atlanta should have and deserve the best
fire protection available. In order to accomplisn this, we must have tne best
trained, qualified, and exnerienced personnel in responsible positions
regardless of race, creed, or color.
Fire Department officership must have leadership. One cannot gain leadership
if standards have to be lowered so one can qualify. Subordinates will not look
upon such an officer as a leader. Life and property is at stake. Decisions
and actions of a fire officer are based on knowledge and experience of the job.
Therefore, standards and qualifications must be kept high. Rather than lower
the standards, they should be raised.
Promotions in the Fire Department are made according to merit and fitness.
The promotional system of the Atlanta Fire Denartment is set by law.
Anyone meeting the qualifying standards as set forth by the
Promotional Board will be promoted regardless of race, creed, or
color. We will not and do not discriminate for or against anyone
meeting the qualifying standards of this system.
Wer yy win
Promotional examinations for Fire Lieutenants are
years. To qualify, a man must have had five years service in the
Fire Department. After the examination, the applicants are listed
according to their scores from a combination of the written test,
training school average, and seniority points. This list is
divided into groups of 20. The first 20 men are rated at oral
interviews, and this score is added to their grades from the above
three items. Promotions from this list are made in order of the
applicant's final score.
So far, the first 7 men nave been promoted from the Lieutenant's
examination held in March of 1969. The first black firemen started to
work in April 1963, so that this is the first year (1969) any of them
have been eligible to apply for promotion to Lieutenant. There were 153
applicants, of whom 6 were black. The first black applicant is in the
6th group of 20 or approximately position 102 on the list.
Promotions to Fire Apparatus Operator are made by appointinent. The
Captain at each station makes these selections subject to the
approval of the Battalion Chief. The men must nave had at least two
years service with the Fire Department and have passed tne reauired
driving tests at the Training School. There are nine black firemen
in these positions.
Eligible lists for Firemen are established every week after the weekly
interviews. (During March, April, and July of this year, interviews
were held every two weeks.) As vacancies occur, the Fire Department
calls the men on a list in tie order of their scores. Each person on
the list of a certain date is contacted and offered employment before
moving to the next chronological list. Once aman is on the eligible
list, he is not by-passed unless the Fire Department is unable to
contact him by telephone or letter.
Through July 25, of this year, 60 white men were put on the eligible
list and 57 black men. Of these, 45 white men have been employed and
41 black men.
Of the 867 men in the extinguishing division, over 19% or 165 are black.
Nine of these are Fire Apparatus Overators and 25 are on Military
Leave. Firemen that leave the department for military service are
reinstated when they return (this is a Federal Law) and are usually
returned to the same station from whicii tiiey left.
In January of 1959, a group of firemen leased a 5.7 acre tract of
land at Lake Allatoona from tne government and organized a ciud
which was called Atlanta Firemen's Recreation Club. However, tie
Fire Department nor tne City of Atlanta nas any jurisdiction over the
activities of this clud. It is a private organization controlled by
a Board of Trustees composed of eleven men, wio adhere to tne wishes
of the majority of the members, and is supported entirely by dues paid
by the members and maintained through volunteer services of tiie members.