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End of consent decree at Austin Fire Department fuels optimism

The consent decree between the US Justice Department and the Austin Fire Department has come to an end.

The decree came down in 2013 after allegations of unfair but unintentional hiring practices. That decree has now expired and Austin Firefighters Association President Bob Nicks couldn't be happier. "The Consent Decree cost the citizens of Austin tens of millions of dollars and we used the exact same process that we used before the consent decree because there was really no wrongdoing to begin with." Nicks says they're moving towards a more inclusive hiring process while still keeping merit part of it.

Nicks goes on to say he's glad to be out from under the decree and looking forward to better days in the department with new leadership at the helm. "I'm very optimistic about our future." Says Nicks. "We'll have a good process regardless of whether we have a consent decree or not." Nicks says the millions lost were in service revenue that he believes could have been spent on better programs.  "We've got a new chief. The leaders from the past who brought us the consent decree are no longer with us."
 

(PHOTO BY ERIC LEIKAM)

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