They should have given this woman a participation trophy and sent her home—but Choeurlyne Doirin-Holder became a firefighter despite failing her physical tests at the Fire Academy, only to injure herself 10 days into her new job.
This is what happens when a federal judge orders the FDNY to give “priority hire” preference to victims of past discrimination against minorities–she was one of 282 that Judge Nicholas Garaufis ordered to be given a job.
After two previous failed attempts to pass the academy, the department passed her, despite failing a third time, the New York Post reported Sunday. A prior classmate called Doirin-Holder “the most pathetic specimen of physical fitness I’ve ever seen,” adding that she failed to run a required 1.5 miles in 12 minutes.
Adding insult to injury (quite literally), after her previous failure, the failed “probie” was kept on the department’s payroll collecting top firefighter pay for performing a desk job. She received $81,376 in pay and overtime while waiting for another chance at the academy.
Only 10 days after her graduation, she was on her shift as a firefighter with Engine 308 in Queens conducting routine equipment checks, when she missed a step getting off the truck and fractured her left foot. Now Doirin-Holder is out on medical leave.
It could be a good thing that she’s not fighting fires, one unnamed insider told the newspaper. “If you’re going to get hurt in the firehouse checking a rig, what would happen at a fire?”
Another wrote on an online FDNY forum, “If you can’t meet the standards, you are a danger to yourself, the public and most importantly everyone operating on the fire ground who is doing their job.”
The worst part of this tale of waste and failure is that since Doirin-Holder was injured on duty, she is eligible for a disability pension that would pay three-quarters of her annual salary, tax-free, if deemed unfit to return.
Perhaps orders from federal judges are not the best way to decide who is fit to serve as a firefighter, unless participation trophies are going to be the new rule.