Thursday, July 09, 2009

Post Reporter: New York Senate Democratic Leader Fired 200 White Employees Because Of Their Race

A long-time New York state house reporter, Fredric Dicker of the NY Post, pens a column critical of the declining standards of political discourse in the Empire State over the past several years. Disgusted by the "anarchy, chaos and lack of leadership" that he has witnessed recently, he confesses that he has all but given up. "After three decades as a journalist covering state government, if I had to do it all over again, I'd find another job," he writes. "We're going backwards, not forwards, and of late we've even been falling apart," he continues, suggesting that New York is on the "brink of ruin." Particularly troubling is an assertion Dicker makes in his column that the state's first African-American Senate Majority Leader, Malcolm Smith, fired about 200 white legislative employees over the past several months in order to replace them with minority workers. Dicker writes:

During the long years of Republican control, the all-white GOP "conference" would regularly bemoan its lack of diversity, and make extra efforts to recruit minority Senate candidates and hire minority staff.

During the first five months of this year, with the Senate under the control of its first African-American majority leader, Smith, top Democrats bemoaned the lack of minority Senate staffers.

But instead of trying to recruit new hires, they fired nearly 200 almost exclusively white workers and replaced them with a large number of minority employees, many of whom were seen by their fellow workers to be unskilled at their new jobs.

The move produced severe racial tensions, made worse by the fact that, as a high-level Democratic staffer confided, "We've been told to only hire minorities.''
In May, the New York Post reported on a $300,000 settlement the State of New York entered into with a fired white Senate photographer. The suit originated from a time when Gov. David Paterson served as the Senate Democratic leader. The photographer alleged Patterson fired him in order to hire a black photographer. Smith reportedly tried to block the settlement earlier this year with the photographer but eventually agreed to it to avoid taking the case to trial.

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