Black Firefighters Sue Over Jacksonville Policy Requiring Them To Be Cleanshaven

Nov 25, 2020
Florida Times-Union file photo

Thirty Black Jacksonville firefighters are suing the city over its requirement to be cleanshaven, saying unreasonable standards are making them choose between painful skin problems and losing their careers.

Keith Powers speaking at a podium with a firetruck and firefighters behind him. Mayor Lenny Curry to his left, speaking in a fire station
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department is receiving a $14.4 million federal grant to bolster its workforce. 

Mark Wolfe / Wikimedia Commons

Oral arguments have been scheduled for late August in a Florida Supreme Court case challenging Gov. Rick Scott’s vetoes of pay raises for firefighters employed by the state.

Joslyn Simmons / WJCT

The Florida State College at Jacksonville has received a $25,000 Fire Cadet Academy Grant from the AT&T foundation to help students who want to become firefighters.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Negotiations over how to reform Jacksonville’s public employee retirement plans continued Wednesday.

Rick Scott
The Office of Governor Rick Scott

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott signed a measure Friday that will help families of first responders who are enrolled in the Florida Retirement System and get killed in the line of duty.

The death-benefits bill (SB 7012), a priority of Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, was among 17 bills Scott signed into law.

Jacksonville Association of Firefighters

A bill allowing Jacksonville to extend a half-cent sales tax to cover the city’s pension liability got its final green light from the Florida Legislature Wednesday.

Gov. Rick Scott is likely to sign the bipartisan measure.

Warren Miller

Yuriko Stowers was born in Yokohama, Japan, and grew up near Tokyo. But she knew from an early age that wanted to be something or somewhere different. She achieved that dream –  today, Yuriko is a firefighter in Northeast Florida.

Florida Forest Service

The Florida Forest Service is sending 40 more wildland firefighters west this weekend to help battle blazes in Oregon, California, and Idaho.

The latest group follows an initial deployment of 28 firefighters and personnel announced on Monday.

“We are proud to offer the expertise of the Florida Forest Service to help states that are battling severe wildfires,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam in a statement.

Kevin Meerschaert

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and Baldwin Mayor Stan Totman were on hand to introduce a new rescue unit for the Baldwin Fire Station. Before now, the closest Rescue Unit to Baldwin was seven miles away on Beaver Street.

Along with the Rescue unit, the full time staff of the station will increase from two to four. Jacksonville Fire Chief Marty Senterfitt says that's important because the increase in protection is expected to help lower home owner insurance rates for Baldwin residents.

Kevin Meerschaert

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown joined the heads of the Police and Fire unions on Wednesday to announce they have reached a deal on pension reform.

Mayor Brown says the deal, which still needs to be approved by the City Council, will save more than $1 billion over 30 years.

Under the agreement, new fire and police employee hires will have to wait longer to retire, have a cap on yearly benefits and contribute more of their salary to the retirement plan.