Years of legal wrangling over the racial makeup of the New York City Fire Department has led to a host of reforms, from a court-appointed monitor to a new entrance exam and an influx of recruiters into black and Hispanic neighborhoods.
On Tuesday, that long fight to diversify the overwhelmingly white department came to an end with an agreement to settle the case and pay nearly $100 million in back pay and benefits to minorities whose efforts to join the department were thwarted by what courts have ruled were institutional biases.
For Mayor Bill de Blasio, who vigorously criticized the civil rights records of both the Police and Fire Departments during his campaign last year, the decision to settle the suit represented another sharp break from the Bloomberg administration.
“The brave men and women of the F.D.N.Y. work tirelessly to keep us safe from harm’s way — and our administration is committed to ensuring every New Yorker who seeks to take on this heroic role has a fair opportunity to join the ranks,” Mr. de Blasio said in a statement.
Soon after taking office, Mr. de Blasio announced a settlement with civil rights groups that…