FDNY Hiring Lawsuit Keeps Former Marine From Promised Job
A U.S. Marine who served overseas for four years expected to come home to a job with the New York City Fire Department, but after the city's hiring freeze and a discrimination lawsuit against the FDNY, he says he is losing hope he will ever get the job. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
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Greg DellaValle, 26, says he has been shot at and hit by grenade fire. He has seen people kill and be killed while serving four years in the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Still, the veteran and resident of Seaford, Long Island says that is nothing like being a casualty of the war that is been waged between the New York City Fire department and a federal court judge over FDNY hiring.
"My life is in limbo. And like I said, the fire department is missing out on quality people," said DellaValle. "And, I don't know, I guess I'm stuck in the middle of a bureaucracy."
DellaValle took the FDNY entrance exam in 2002. He was called to the academy two years later, but he was still on active duty.
He was placed on a special military list, allowing him to jump to the head of the line for the first class after his discharge.
He just missed getting his physical in time for the July 2008 class, and was scheduled to enter the academy in January 2009. That class, however, was canceled because of budget problems.
No class has been hired since, because federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled the FDNY intentionally discriminates against blacks and Hispanics in its hiring.
Now, DellaValle's special military status has expired.
"We're trying to get them hired. They served their country very bravely, and we feel like nothing should stop them from being hired as they should have been hired, but they were out serving our country," said Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano.
DellaValle returned from overseas in late 2007, worked odd jobs since to make ends meet and he recently enrolled in school. He says it is not at all the life he thought he would be coming home to when his military service was up.
"It feels like I'm just wasting time, taking up space in school, because it's not necessarily... it's not really where I belong," said DellaValle.
DellaValle says he hopes the city's Department of Citywide Administrative Services will extend his special status, so he can jump to the top of the next list, whenever that is.
DCAS officials would not comment because of the continuing federal lawsuit.
Meanwhile, the city is drafting a new exam it hopes the judge will accept. It is a test DellaValle says he will be taking.