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Nutter Aide Disputes Finding of Widespread Racism in Phila. Fire Dept.

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(Philadelphia fire chief Lloyd Ayers, at head of table, listens as mayor's chief of staff Everett Gillison, third from left, makes a point to the PICA board.  Credit: Steve Tawa)

(Philadelphia fire chief Lloyd Ayers, at head of table, listens as mayor’s chief of staff Everett Gillison, third from left, makes a point to the PICA board. Credit: Steve Tawa)

Steve Tawa Steve Tawa
Steve Tawa joined KYW Newsradio in 1990, and splits his time between...
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By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mayor Nutter’s top point person at City Hall took issue today with a consultant’s report that pointed to a “racial divide” in the Philadelphia Fire Department.

Nutter chief of staff Everett Gillison (third from left in photo) disputes Berkshire Advisors’ contention that the department is “rife with racial division” (see related story).   He says that doesn’t square with the view of a majority of the 2,100-member department.

“It seemed to be incongruent with the analysis that most of the people — eighty to eighty-five percent of the people — felt that the fire division was a great place to work,” Gillison told the board of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA).

Gillison called the assessment “overly broad.”

“I’m not going to say there’s not racial tension,” he added.  “I live in the city of Philadelphia.  I live in America.”

But Gillison told PICA, the state agency that oversees the city’s finances, that people in the fire department mostly get treated “based on their performance.”

PICA chairman Sam Katz (back to camera in photo) said he was under the impression that the racial complaints were in response to discipline and transfer practices within the fire department rather than interpersonal relationships.

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