Austin Fire Dept.

Austin Price / KUT

This post has been updated.

Austin City Council approved a new labor contract Thursday that determines pay, discipline and promotions for Austin firefighters.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Two of the city’s three public safety unions are willing to consider a one-year extension of their contracts with the city – but it might not be as simple as giving the go-ahead. Although negotiations for new contracts are set for spring 2017, City Council has said it wants to wait until a new city manager is in place.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

The drone idles on a small runway at the Austin Radio Control Association, just east of the city. It’s got a grey body and a white nose, across which someone has painted a sinister smile. The controls are tested, and then the small aircraft takes off.

Callie Hernandez for KUT

The City of Austin and the U.S. Justice Department have agreed to a settlement in a complaint over hiring practices at the Austin Fire Department (AFD).

The settlement follows an investigation finding that the AFD selection process had the effect of unfairly discriminating against African-American and Hispanic applicants.

Under the agreement, which still needs approval by a federal court, the Austin Fire Department would change its hiring process to bring it in compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Title VII forbids the use of employment practices such as written tests resulting in disparate impact against any group, based on factors like race or national origin. 

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT News

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport held a full-scale disaster response exercise on its airfield today, allowing first responders to practice their skills using an actual airplane.

The drill involved aircraft, firefighters, EMS responders, medical service vehicles and more. Several volunteers played the role of plane crash victims, complete with simulated injuries. Responders even tagged volunteers' bodies via a triage system, ranking them by the medical attention required.

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