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Feds File Suit Against Miami Beach Over Minority Hiring

December 24, 1991

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Federal officials have sued the city for allegedly discriminating against blacks and Hispanics who sought jobs at the police and fire departments.

City officials said Monday they had not seen the lawsuit but hoped it could be resolved quickly.

″We don’t want to litigate this,″ said acting City Manager Carla Talarico. ″We want to resolve it.″

The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Miami. It also named the police and fire chiefs and city manager and personnel director.

Among other points, it claims the city’s selection procedures for the jobs included written tests that were unfair to blacks and Hispanics.

″The Department of Justice will vigorously pursue this litigation to protect the rights of black and Hispanic applicants for police and fire positions in Miami Beach,″ said John R. Dunne, assistant attorney general in charge of the agency’s Civil Rights Division.

The Justice Department had proposed a settlement after its seven-month investigation. But a demand that the city set aside up to $745,000 to be paid to minorities who didn’t get jobs remains a hurdle, Ms. Talarico said.

The Justice Department found that although the Fire Department had no black firefighters, 14 had applied for 91 vacancies between 1985 and 1990. It also found that of the city’s force of 200 firefighters, only 15 were Hispanic.

Federal investigators also said that blacks lagged well behind other groups in the police department.

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