Earlier this week, a judge who blocked the FDNY from hiring recruits (because he found the FDNY's previous three recruitment exams discriminated against nonwhites) offered the city three options to hire 300 recruits. However, the city declined, saying, "The City respectfully believes that using raced-based quotas to select firefighters is both illegal and unwise public policy."

Federal judge Nicholas Garaufis' suggestions included, "Hire candidates who represent a racial breakdown of the test takers. Sixty percent would be white; 17 percent black; 18 percent Hispanic; 2 percent Asian and 1 percent others" and "Randomly selecting enrollees from the top 2,500 scorers on the last test. To increase the pool of black and Hispanic candidates, the city would eliminate the lowest-scoring whites in the group and add the highest-scoring minorities who did not make the top 2,500." Here's a sample question from the exam.

Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday, "I want to make sure that if my kids are in that building, I want the best-trained, smartest firefighter that we can possibly have coming through that door." But the Vulcan Society, which filed the suit and has claimed the department is discriminatory, said, "For the mayor to just out-of-hand reject this is typical of his actions in terms of dealing with race in the fire department. He's buried his head in the sand."