Rockdale County has hired 16 firefighters and sparked a public outcry because none of the new recruits are black.
Fire Chief Dan Morgan said while there are no blacks among the new firefighters, the group has one woman and one man who identifies as Hispanic.
“We had three African Americans who made the final cut, but did not make it through the whole hiring process for whatever reason,” said Morgan, adding that all recruits must pass a psychological profile, GBI polygraph, physical agility test, written test and panel interviews.
Of the three blacks who made the final rounds, one didn’t pass the polygraph, another didn’t pass the psychological test, and the third decided to take a higher paying job, Morgan said.
With the new recruits, Rockdale’s Fire Department has about 146 fire personnel, 8 or 9 of whom are black and two who are Hispanic, Morgan said. The department has three female firefighters, he said.
On Common Ground News fielded several complaints this week about thenew hires.
Rockdale Commissioner Oz Nesbitt is furious over the numbers, saying the county’s inaction is “absolutely embarrassing.” He said when he was elected in 2009, there were only five blacks in the department then and officials agreed to work to greatly improve the numbers. Blacks comprise nearly half of Rockdale’s population of
“I find it absolutely embarrassing that as much as we talk about being fair and equitable, and the fact that we are one of 13 metro counties, that we could not find one African American anywhere to serve as a firefighter in Rockdale County,” said Nesbitt. “Even more disturbing is that we could not find one right here in Rockdale. I put the responsibility for this on the CEO of the county since he is in charge of the day-to-day operations.”
CEO Richard Oden said the