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  1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down Residency Requirements

    Looking for thoughts or rules on residency requirements for appointment to firefighter. Is there any SAFE way to establish an adress without actually living in a jurisdiction? Are residency requirements really needed? What do you think?

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I know from my own expierience that the City of Philadelphia requires residency one year prior to AND for the duration of your employment. PO Boxes are NO GOOD, UNLESS you can show PROOF of residency- major utility bills, leases, mortgages & deeds, gas, water & sewer, electric bills, cable tv, telephone, tax records.....will all be scrutinized and reviewed. Neighbors will be contacted to see if you have truly been a resident.....Civil Service personnel will also visit you at your "residence" to see the place. They want to "see pictures hanging on the walls...."

    There really is no way around it....Especially in Philly, where you have to maintain residency for the duration of your employment!!!!

    Are residency requirements really needed? Thats a debate I dont want to get into right now.....Yes and no....Goes to the "quality of lifestyle" of the community you are protecting and living in. Other considerations are there, also.

    "Loyalty above all else, except honor."

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    In most of the departments I know of residency is not a must. Proximity is. They want to know that you are either within a certain number of miles from the fire house or district, or that you can respond within a certain period of time (to calls or for callbacks).

    The main goal is to be able to get help when you need it.

    I don't see why you should have to live within a specific town. In some cases, having an address outside that town or city actually puts you CLOSER to the fire station. After all, not all fire houses or districts are centrally located. I think common sense should be the rule when dictating where volunteers or employees should reside.

    Just my 2 cents.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Residency requirements are outmoded and frankly wrong-headed in this day and age. The old "quality of life in the area you serve" argument is a red herring. How many Philly firefighters who work in, say, the badlands of North Philadelphia actually live there? Think they're concerned with the "quality of life" in those areas beyond protecting the people and what little salvagable property there is from fire? I don't think so. It's stupid. If you want to be able to attract the best mix of candidates, you have to expand, at least out one county or so, like NYC has done.

    Anyway, like ArmyTruckCompany says, there's not much chance of getting around the civil service people in Philly - my dad was a Philly firefighter for 30 years, and he has some great stories about the lengths those yahoos will go to, to make sure you actually live within the city limits.

    J. Black

    The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated.

  5. #5
    Captain Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I feel that residency laws are an impediment to any public safety organization in recruiting and maintaining qualified personnel.

    When a firefighter, police officer, EMT or paramedic dies in the line of duty, do you think the first question on the politician's minds are "did he/she live in town?"

    Emergency service personnel give their best efforts to protect the citizens they serve...if a person's house is on fire, I don't think anybody would give at rat's rump where the responders lived!

    Just my .03 worth...Captains have to pay a little more!

    Firefighters: rising under adverse conditions to accept the challenge!
    Captain Gonzo

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    In Connecticut I think it's against equal opportunity employment rules to require residency. In my city they had to change it when it was challenged. The city's are just hurting themselves by this 'cause they are not getting all the available candidates. I personally don't live in the city I work in and it's better to leave town after work and get away from the job. I know some city's like Hartford still require residency to apply but once you have the job you can move out (Who would want to live in Hartford anyway?). This is currently being challenged in Hartford. It discriminates against nonresidence.

    IAFF Local 2033, Love this job! Hate SCABS!

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Gotta give my 0.02 on this one. Having the best in your department is the goal, right? I feel that having the broadest possible cross-section of the eligible candidates test for the positions available would yield the best possible appointments. I feel that these residency rules harken back to in-town politics of small town home rule b.s. You have a hook and you get in. That's great if you're good for the job, but if you're not then who pays for the scam? The public. Some say that this rule is so that you know the town. uh-huh. I have to know the job. Figuring out the street layout isn't going to kill me or others. I tested on what I knew, how well I knew it and how fast I could use it....not who I knew. My opinion.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I think that the residency requirement for FDNY is more fair as far as you are allowed to live (going north) as far as orange county. That is nice for those people living upstate. However, If you live there, you are over 120 miles away from NYC, but someone who lives in Ft. Lee (just across the GWB)in NJ cannot work for FDNY. I can understand why, but now you will take a guy from the farm land far away, and not a guy who lives close... Oh well it could be worse.

    What I think is BS is that if you are a city resident, you get 5 points (for a possible 105/100). That rule is just effect to attract the inner city people who the city needs to justify its hiring quotas. the more qualified guys have to wait longer (if they even get on) because they live outside the city.. I would much rather work with a guy who got a legitimate 100 than a guy who got a 95 + 5. Those tests are so easy that only a complete moron couldnt get a 95.

    I think affirmitive action and hiring quotas are reverse discrimination.. I dont see too many asians and indians lining up to get on the job... Black, white blue pink.. who gives a crap as long as they are good firemen.

    That is what residency requirement is about.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    Our local has had trouble with our residency requirements. As a small dept. we count on off duty personnel to come in for working fires. So having the FTers live close is a benefit. But on the other hand as a FTer I am only required to show up to work on my scheduled days and mandatory drills. How can they tell me where I can live if I show up ontime every time? They can't tell me not to drink on my days off, but I can't respond back no matter where I am. They don't bar me from leaving the area every day or for vaction, so what is my obligation to respond. If I want I could not come in even if the city burned flat on my off days. I would but thats my choice, not theirs. Its a hard line to fight as residents want to see their dollars stay in the community, but the job market is such that restricting applicants further is counter-productive.

    This is the only opinion to have, if you're me! If not, get your own, this ones mine!

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    KeitAB - Check again, it's going on not far away from you. My brother just tried to get an app for the Hartford fire dept a week or two ago and they wouldn't even give him an app because his address was out of town. Ther e is no way he's going to move to a city just to try and get an application with no real guarantee of getting a job. Just look at the state of the HFD, I know a few guys there and they say the dept has gone down hill since they put in the residence only requirement.... But that is another story

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Well,good question.It all depends on the city itself and how they ivestigate.We've had at least 30 people fired for residency before the law was changed state wide.Only one was fired,the rest won their case.Residency is now abolished in the state of Michigan as of March 1,2001,the law was signed by the Gov.in December,all contracts that include residency will stay in effect until the next contract is signed,then it is against the law to require it after that.As far as getting hired,the Supreme Court has stated that a city cannot require residency to be hired but they can require you to be a resident on the date of your hire.Detroit is now facing a class action federal lawsuit because they hired only residents for the last class,even though some non-residents were higher on the list.I hope they win and I feel that they will prevail.All the police and fire in the state pushed hard for the residency bill and prevailed.I hope that other states will follow if the unions get together and try to get a law passed that abolishes the residency requirement.It took us 3 years,but it was worth it.

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We had a residency requirement in DC for about 10 years. We lost a lot of good men who were unwilling to 'live a lie' for the course of their employment. Since DC has very little middle class housing, the city finally realized the folly of the requirement (with a lot of help from L-36, IAFF) and replaced it with a preference.

    If a residency preference is fairly applied, I think it is valid. If all other factors are equal, the city does benefit from the taxes that a resident pays. But it should only be used as a tiebreaker.

    [This message has been edited by oldE6man (edited 02-28-2001).]

  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    KCMO had (might still, I don't live there anymore) for ALL city employees. Their reasoning? Income tax.

    That's right, Kansas City, MO has a 1% income tax. If you live outside the city, but work in the city, you get it refunded (100% giveback). If you live in the city, but work outside it, you owe the tax, but it's not collected (withheld) for you, so you pony up at the end of the year.

    But if you're a city employee, you don't have the choice of living outside the city limits for the lower tax rates, or better schools, or whatever, because they won't give up their money!

  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Residency requirements keep good departments from getting the best qualified firefighters that are avalible, period-end-of-story!!

    Departments should not count off duty personel as avalible for the "big one".

    Cities have res. req. in the charter as part of the affirmative action "deal" to "level" the playing field and have a department that is as ethniclly diverse as the community it serves. BULL*HIT!!-ATTENTION ALL FD's, HIRE THE BEST PERSON FOR THE JOB-REGARDLESS OF COLOR,RACE OR WHERE THEY LIVE!-YOUR CITIZENS WANT,DEMAND & DESERVE IT!!!!

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest


    i dont agree with residency requirements either i think they cut down the amount of qualified applicants also. in new jersey all towns/cities to my knowledge require you to live in that town. when jersey gave the test the city of elizabeth had to regive the test because not enough took or did well enough to be considered
    Is there a way to get rid of them

  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I may have to lean towards agreeing with RADFIRE on this one. If we do away with residency requirements, don't we increase the applicant base we can choose from? If we increase the applicant base we can choose from, don't we stand a better chance of having a higher number of 'qualified' applicants thus increasing our quality of service!

    I partially understand a certain distance away due to off-duty recalls for multiple alarm jobs, but living in the city limits is not necessarily the best solution!

    I live 1.6 miles from a vol. station that wouldn't take me as a member because at the 1.4 mile point of the 1.6 above, I leave their town and enter another, yet that station (the one that denied me) is 1st due to my neighborhood! Screwy isn't it?? I guess it applies to both vol and career.

    [This message has been edited by FFTrainer (edited 03-13-2001).]

  17. #17
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I feel the requirements are way overrated. I live in a town next to the one that I applied for, I have been a vol. there for 6 yr.s, I have fire 1&2, EMT-d, Haz-Mat tech, am a cert. fire instructor along with many other qaulifications. Yet, since at the time I applied for the test I did not live in the city I applied for, even if I lived in the city right after the test it would not count. Instead of hiring a more qualified person the town would rather hire someone from town.
    Now lets look at the test the pyhsical I took was an extremly difficult task, but the mental end was a joke. Example question- If your gauge reads 100 and you take away 30 what does it now read. hmmmmmmm let me think about this. there were only two questions that actualy pertained to fire knowledge. Now I have been told that the new test was made more to cater to minorities and females. Well I say if they can't do the same job as the rest of us don't let the door hit you on the way out, don't make it easier for people to get on, this is by no means an easy job. And by stating that they adjusted the test to make it easier to minorites and females, seems as if they feel that these people are less capable of performing the job, well I find it hard to believe that they can't do it as well as any one else. I know I got a little off subject here but civl sercive annoys the S**T out of me.

  18. #18
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Exclamation Chicago Residency Rules Report

    Hey guys-
    I am the daughter of a retired firefighter of the FDNY. I am a reporter who is getting her masters right now in Chicago at the Medill School of Journalism. I am working with the Local 2 union in Chicago to do a really interesting story on residency rules in the city of Chicago. I am looking for some people willing to talk on camera about why they love/hate the residency rules here that require all firefighters to live within the city confines, despite soaring urban prices that make it especially tough on probationary firefighters to own a home, make a living, etc etc. I was wondering if you may know anyone willing to talk about this issue. I was also wondering if you had any more information on residency rules: how they came into existence, how many cities/states have them, how many have relaxed them, etc etc.

    Thanks so much! You can email me at Shawna.Ryan@gmail.com

  19. #19
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000


    From what I read, Boston is going to have a big fight on their hands in teh next couple of years.

    It seems that teachers and a few other select groups of city employees are not required to live in the city. The FD and BPPA (of which Boston EMS is affiliated) have been fighting it for years.

    In March a police officer's wife was mugged in front of their house. In the city. In a rougher part of town. Because the city does not pay appropriately for its employees to afford to live in town.

    Where a decent, non-roach infested studio will run you about $2,000 per month, and where people will pay over $100,000 for a parking space NEAR downtown.

    Residency serves no useful purpose whatsoever.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

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  20. #20
    Forum Member gunnyv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    SE MI


    As mentioned earlier, Michigan has outlawed residency requirements. Now all the failing cities-Detroit, Flint, Saginaw-want to bring it back. Their argument is that if the city isn't good enough for you to live in and pay taxes in, you shouldn't work there. Detroit has a controversy right now with mayoral appointees, the Mayor is insisting that they live in the city, despite the law. The most ridiculous thing, Detroit already has an income tax for non-residents who work in the city-it's 50% of the resident tax. In addition, they are looking for all employees to take a 10% pay cut, despite the fact that a FF in Detroit makes about 70% of what I make in the suburbs. I can't imagine why anyone wants to work there as it is.

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