Last Updated: 12:14 AM, January 22, 2012
Posted: 10:11 PM, January 20, 2012
It’s about time.
The Bloomberg administration has demanded that federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis be removed from the ongoing lawsuit over the Fire Department’s hiring practices.
That lawsuit, says the city, “began as a narrow challenge” to two application exams — but has “been misused” by Garaufis to mount “an unjustified takeover” of the FDNY’s hiring structure.
“Along the way,” writes Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo in a 139-page filing, Garaufis “lost any semblance of neutrality.”
Indeed, he writes, the “vehemence” of Garaufis’ insistence — in the face of all available evidence — that the city deliberately discriminated against minority candidates raises “substantial doubt” on his ability to fairly continue hearing the case.
Which is putting it mildly.
Clearly the city has finally had it with King Nicholas’ imperious insistence on being not only judge, but also prosecutor and jury, in the Vulcan Society’s 2007 lawsuit.
The only mystery here is why City Hall waited so long — when the record of Garaufis’ bias and irrational behavior has been abundantly clear.
Not to mention his blatant personal grudge against top city officials, particularly Mayor Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano.
Virtually from the outset, the city says, Garaufis was “bound and determined” to impose “closely supervised ‘top-to-bottom’” court oversight of the FDNY. When the city presented evidence to refute the need for that, he “excluded, struck or ignored it.” When the other side’s evidence fell short, he “found a way to excuse or fix it.”
Typical of Garaufis’ vindictiveness was his personal selection of former Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau as a special master to oversee the FDNY’s application exams.
Morgenthau, the city noted, “had a long, acrimonious and well-known history of conflict with many city officials directly involved in this case” — which would’ve “created widespread public speculation of partiality.”
Given his “vituperative tone and content,” the city charges, Garaufis “would have adhered to his choice” had Morgenthau not withdrawn after widespread criticism.
Perhaps most troubling is Cardozo’s compilation of Garaufis’ “preoccupation with press coverage” — especially coverage “he perceived as being critical of him.” (If this page provided some of his agita, we couldn’t be happier.)
He’s repeatedly complained about Bloomberg and Cardozo “attacking the court . . . instead of just saying we disagree.”
He even asked Cassano “what steps he would take” if FDNY officials wrote “columns in the newspaper” that “criticized the [court] process” — i.e., Garaufis.
Garaufis long ago lost his moral grasp on this case — by losing control of himself.
His is no more a neutral, impartial party to the proceeding than is the Vulcan Society itself.
But he is supposed to be the judge.
The city has presented a compelling case for his replacement. Here’s hoping the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals agrees.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion...#ixzz1oDc3yvOX