By Ben Fractenberg
MANHATTAN — Overtime costs for firefighters could reach more than $119 million over the next two years unless a judge allows the FDNY to hire a new class of firefighters, the New York Post reported Friday.
The Brooklyn judge blocked 300 probationary firefighters from joining the force earlier this month after ruling the department's entry exam was racially discriminatory. He halted new hiring at the FDNY untul the department develops a new racially unbiased entrance exam.
But city officials say that they need the new firefighters now.
“The cost of a probie firefighter is far less than paying overtime,” assistant commissioner Stephen Rush told the judge, according to the Post.
FDNY officials told the Daily News it could take two years for the new test to be ready, making the department 1,200 men below its required number of responders.
"It will affect our response times," Chief of Operations Robert Sweeney told The Daily News.
The judge did not make another ruling yesterday, reportedly calling the issue a balancing act between protecting civil rights and making sure the department if fully staffed.