1. #1
    Nate Marshall
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    Post How to get rid of residency requirements!

    In the 1999 off year election the City of Denver allowed it's voters to decide if they wanted their firefighters and police officers to live within the city. This was negotiated by the union. The city said they would place the issue to the voters and would abide by the will of the people.

    More than 70% said they didnt care where people lived.

    This is a good avenue for those people looking to get rid of this archaic and unnecessary and mostly democratic party sponsored bs.

  2. #2
    GBordas
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    I think having a residency requirement is a good thing. New York City has a residency requirment and is faced with this question all the time from people who want to be able to test but don't meet the requirments. You get some hack from California who decides he wants to work for the New York City Fire Department just because it is the FDNY with out putting any commitment into it. Frankly I am getting tired of it. I think having residency requirements shows initiative for your commitment to a city prior to being allowed to take the test. Plus having a residency requirement allows for people who grew up in the city a chance and preference over those who take up a spot on the test just to say they did so. I strongly agree with residency requirements but I think that it shouldn't be limited to just one city but incorporate the metropolitan area and counties around the city so that there are choices where you want to live.

  3. #3
    Nate Marshall
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    What ended up happening is that they allowed people to live in the 7 counties that make up the Denver metro area. Denver, Adams, Jefferson, Douglas, Arapahoe, Boulder and El Paso. They may extend this to 3 others in 2002.

  4. #4
    FP&LS Guy
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    One of the problems with residency requirements is the pay not being sufficient to live in a "respectable" part of town. I know firefighters who wanted to live in the community where they were employed, but would have been limited to apartment buildings or trailer parks. By traveling 5 minutes outside the city limits, they could buy a 3 bedroom house with a 1/2 arce of land. These were guys who had wives working too, and they would have been making more then their husbands and still could not afford a home.

  5. #5
    Captain Gonzo
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    Residency requirements that state that you must live within the city or town limits is archaic and limits the potential pool of applicants. I feel that living within a certain radius of a communiy is much fairer. In Massachusetts, some communities such as Boston have a "residency within the city limits" requirement. Most communities in Massachusetts follow civil service law stating that public safety personnel have to live within a 15 air mile radius of the community they live in.

    Frankly, if someone's house is on fire, I don't think the residents will give a damn where their firefighters live.

    ------------------
    Firefighters: rising to accept the challenge!
    Captain Gonzo

  6. #6
    McGyver
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    Thumbs down

    Residency stinks!

    We have it where I work.
    Like FP&LS said, what I paid for my little house on a postage stamp lot (although in what I think of as the best part of the city limits), would get me a mini farm w/ 10 acres, 10 miles from here, still in the county.

    I don't have kids, but our town still has forced busing, and the school system is THIRD FROM THE BOTTOM rating in the state as far as education goes.

    You have to send your kids to private school if you want them to get a good education.

    If you could live w/in a certain distance, or surrounding counties would be better.
    If someone lived 2 blocks from where I presently live, they could be sending their kids to the #2 BEST public school system in the state!

    This hurts our recruitment too.

    Some people don't like sending their kids to Catholic or Christian schools, if that's not their faith. (basicly the only 2 options)

    Can't blame them there.

    Besides it costs about $3500/year!!

    A tough pill to swallow, when you HAVE to pay the higher taxes, (since you have to live in the city) that pay for the public school that you wouldn't send your kids to as well.

    And that's the facts Jack! LOL

    And MY humble opinion too.

    I stress, MY opinion.
    I make no claim as to be representing any department, or Union. My profile makes no mention of what town I'm even talking about. You can draw whatever conclusion you wish.
    I might not even be a Firefighter....

  7. #7
    fireman_387
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    I don't agree with direct city residency requirements, but I do however agree with a limit on distance from the city that you serve. It isn't a requirement here but it would probably affect a persons getting hired if they didn't agree to move within a respectable distance. I know of firefighters traveling 100+ miles to work and I don't agree with it. Kinda hard to be on a call bak and be effective that far away.

  8. #8
    Plug-Ugly
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    Wink

    Get to work on time...every time.
    Give 100% when you're there.
    Do those 2 things and ol' Plug-Ugly could care less where you live.

  9. #9
    paets
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    Post

    Fireman_387, I think your argument has some merit if you're talking about a small fire department who will likely have a need to call back off-duty personnel. A major metropolitan city is a different story.

    I see the large city's argument in wanting to benefit their own residents but I still think the bottom line should be the best qualified for the job. I favor a radius residency reqirement to be hired.

  10. #10
    E229Lt
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    paets

    //I favor a radius residency reqirement to be hired.//

    Agreed, GBordas may have made it sound like NYC requires you to live within the city boundries, in fact, it has a radius requirement. However, you cannot live outside of NY state, though many in New Jersey and Conn. would live closer than others within the radius.

    Now, all we have to do is abolish the 1127 tax.

  11. #11
    WRENCH
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    In NJ we are allowed to live any where in the state.What you need to do is for state associations to start lobbying for legislation to eliminate the mish mash of local rules. If PAC money is necessary to help it along well so be it.Are state association does it all the time to get are interests and goals accomplished.

  12. #12
    Tillerman-6
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    The city residency requ. was dropped in my city for two reasons. First, we are small and not enough qualified people were taking the aplication tests. So when it was expanded to the surounding county the County civil service board took over the administration of the exams, thereby insuring that the county as a whole was elligible to take them.

    ------------------
    "Back off man... I'm a Scientist."

  13. #13
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    I' sure that here, as it probably is in most places, this "requirement" was put into place when the department and the city were much smaller. You know, fewer ffs, stations, citizens, businesses, etc. Today, our city almost fills the entire county, it is even spilling over in a few spots. Our restriction is to any of the ajoining counties, a lot more lenient than some places. But the county lines are drawn in such away that you could be only 10 minutes away from the city in 1 county and be over 1 hour away in another!!! What's the solution, who knows? I feel it should be based on a travel time limit and not a land line limit.
    Crazy from the heat!!!

  14. #14
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    First of all I strongly believe a good firefighter is determined by who the individual is, not where they live.
    With that said, our small department was hurt when our residency requirement was negotiated out. We had a mass exodus into the suburbs. I do not blame our people though. The schools are bad, the streets are not safe, and the taxes were very high(mainly school). For the firefighters and their families it was good. For the Union and our political strength, we lost. At one time the firefighters and the Union pulled a lot of weight. We all had friends and neighbors in the community and the politicians knew it. Anytime we needed the people they were there for us. Today it is harder. We must work on our PR constantly.

    Due to very few public safety personnel living in our town the Council felt some pressure to do something about it. Instead of trying to negotiate (we were in the middle of a contract negotiation), they decided to make it mandatory for all new hires. Of course we fought it with an Unfair Labor Practice and won. No residency talks since then, but we are in another contract year. Stay tuned.

  15. #15
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    A major city (in my area) of almost 100,000 has had a residency rule since 1993 for all departments of the city government. Since then the number of applicants for the firefighter entrance exam has decreased almost 150% from pre-1993 levels. The town of which I speak is not a less-than-desirable town to live in by an stretch of the imagination either. The PD is currently going to binding arbitration solely on this issue and the other city departments have a "Me too" clause in their contracts. The Federal mediator for the contract has overturned every residency rule that he has been involved with to this point, so things look good. I have worked for both departments that had and did not have residency rules and can honestly say that where the fire/EMS/Other call was made no difference in how I approached it. I feel that residency rules are unfair. My 2 cents.
    The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not reflect those of my Department or it's Administration.

  16. #16
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    Detroit just recently got rid of the residency requirement. Their management is still raising hell about it. You'll have to check with one their folks to get the whole story.

  17. #17
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    The House and Senate in Michigan passed a public act making residency requirements for police officers and firefighters illegal throughout the state. If you are presently under contract you must wait until it expires. As of March 2001, any contract that is settled and signed can not require residency as a requirement for employment in any city in the State of Michigan. It does however allow a city to set a 25 mile radius as a requirement.

  18. #18
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    In the early 90's Youngstown instituted a residency requirement for all city officials, FF, PO, and city workers. If you lived outside the city and were hired before a certain date(don't remember), it didn't apply and you could remain outside the city, but everyone else had 1 year to move into the city as do all new hire's. I personally favor residency requirements, at least in Youngstown's case. We have applicants for the FD from all over NE Ohio. Making them live in the city, I feel, increases the civilian populations awareness of these departments and in a way, makes them feel more safe. I personally have 1 firefighter and 3 police officers within 2 blocks of my house. The cruisers are always parked in the drive and it really adds a sense of security to the neighborhhod. Now I realize that is just police, as firefighters aren't bringing the trucks into their own driveway, but even if you know your neighbor is a firefighter for the city you live in, it makes you feel safer, makes you have a greater respect for the department and city, and well, keeps fireghters familiar with the city since they don't live an hour away. Heck, I know people that live one town over and couldn't find their way around Youngstown with 5 maps and a GPS. All in all, I think they are a good thing. My 2 cents.

  19. #19
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    Here in Erie, we have had the residency requirement for a long time. Our contract will be negotiated this fall and one of the questions asked as part of our IAFF Local survey included many options regarding residency. I had previous firefighting experience from a vollie station outside of the City and lived in the City, so I applied, took the tests and was #3 in my hiring group(three of us had previous experience and the other seven had none--we were all trained in firefighting and EMT-B prior to being placed into a station).
    Many of my friends who live outside the City are well qualified and do not wish to move into the City so they can take the test. Then there are others who realize how much better a career they could have with job security, a PENSION, and excellent health insurance for themselves and family.
    I guess it is a double-edged sword depending on the situation.
    My feelings are if you have adequate personnel to fill an eligibility list and follow it up with the proper training and mentoring program, you are a step above.
    Keep yourselves safe--It's better to talk to you than talk about you.

  20. #20
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    Here in Erie, we have had the residency requirement for a long time. Our contract will be negotiated this fall and one of the questions asked as part of our IAFF Local survey included many options regarding residency. I had previous firefighting experience from a vollie station outside of the City and lived in the City, so I applied, took the tests and was #3 in my hiring group(three of us had previous experience and the other seven had none--we were all trained in firefighting and EMT-B prior to being placed into a station).
    Many of my friends who live outside the City are well qualified and do not wish to move into the City so they can take the test. Then there are others who realize how much better a career they could have with job security, a PENSION, and excellent health insurance for themselves and family.
    I guess it is a double-edged sword depending on the situation.
    My feelings are if you have adequate personnel to fill an eligibility list and follow it up with the proper training and mentoring program, you are a step above.
    Keep yourselves safe--It's better to talk to you than talk about you.

  21. #21
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    Our Dept, (in Canada) which adapted a residency requirement about 8 years ago recently recinded it, on legal advice that it was in controvention of the federal charter of rights and freedom. Dont know how that would affect you guys stateside. Can you site leegal precedents from other countrys?

  22. #22
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    Just saw this thread...
    Not sure when I read this but it was in a journal that covered public safety issues and legal decisions relative to. May have been a year or two ago now.

    Goes something like this. Guy lived in City of Chicago. He wanted for years to be a member of the Chicago PD. Applied and took test several times. Scored well but never well enough to get hired. He took the test for Houstons PD. He passed and was hired.

    He obviously moved to TX. While there working in Houston, his mother got his letter from Chicago that he was hired by CPD and that he was to report for rookie school on such-and-such a date.

    He left Houston and moved back to Chicago. Chicago found that he was recently not a resident of that fair city. They fired him.

    He filed suit and apparently it went all the way to Supreme Court. (Don't know if it was IL State or US) Court ruled in his favor stating it was unconstitutional to require residency PRIOR to hiring.

    Just my two cents, and that won't even buy one.

  23. #23
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    I'm absolutely against residency requirements. I don't see how forcing me to live somewhere I don't want to will make me do my job better. I do know that morale would improve if people were allowed to choose for themselves where they wanted to live. Our residency requirement is one that makes us live within the boundaries of our township. Not even on the other side of the street, where the boundary runs up the middle of the street.

    You guys who like having someone else tell you where you can live and where you can't, think about this: What's to stop the politicians from trying to help clean up some of the rougher neighborhoods by having safety services personnel live there? Do you really want to bring your kids up in an area where you sleep on the floor, below window level, so the bullets that come through the window won't hit you?

    If you accept someone else telling you where to live, how can you not accept them telling you to live in 'the projects?" What's the difference between that and having someone tell you that you have to live within certain boundaries? I say that as long as I'm on duty and ready to work at 8 am when my shift starts, who cares where I live or how long it took for me to get to work?

    (Personal aside to Joe/Daysleeper47: I know plenty of people who live in Y-town, too, who have no idea how to get anywhere in town! Nobody has the market cornered on stoopid people!)
    E-4-A
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  24. #24
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    Well said Ed. I can't believe that anybody who rides a firetruck would agree with residency. The garbage statement from management is always "residency allows the fireman to put back something into the community." What about the prospect of dying in the line of duty? How about crippling injuries or lung problems? Our residency was defeated by an act of Congress. This will always be the biggest victory we achieved in my mind; my kids can go to schools I want and live in much safer neighborhoods. Not many or any at all have the luxury of having Congress strike down city regulations, but the vote was a landslide victory against residency meaning most of America's representitives were against it. Many firemen believe that residency requirements are unconstitutional and hope they won't exist anywhere in the near future. The others ought to think about getting a desk at their administrative division or better yet, city hall.

  25. #25
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    We are currently under a residency clause here in Boston. The police and fire are both under it, but why are the teachers not???? This has burned my butt, and I got third degree burns the other day when I picked up the Boston Herald. 9 Philipinos are being brought into the city of Boston to teach Math and Sceince, the school system has gotten them Houseing over in the city of QUINCY!!!! This burns my Butt. When a non citizen, but yet city employee can live where ever he/she wants, while guys like me A VETERAN, is forced to live within a city I cannot afford. Sorry to Vent!!
    ** The opionions are mine and mine alone, they are not that of my dept or the local**

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