1. #1
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    Question Residency Requirement

    We are a small department that provides both Fire and EMS Transport to our community and surrounding areas. We staff with a minimum 4 on and max of 5. We also have about 10 Paid Call FF’s. We currently have a residency requirement of 20 miles. We are wondering if any one has heard of case law that makes these kinds of requirements unlawful. Our IAFF rep has not been able to find anything. Thanks for any info that you can pass on.

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    Default More info Needed

    I am not quite sure what you’re asking. We have to be residents only to get hired. It’s not a law just preference given to residential candidates
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    I've never heard of a successful challenge to such a residency rule. They are justified primarily on the basis of rapid availability for callbacks, and to reduce the chances that such a callback would be impeded by bad weather (i.e., call everybody back due to a flood disaster, off-duty crews can't get back in because of high water).
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    This is becoming rather big issue here in Masachusetts, especially the eastern adn central areas. Every department wants you to live in town or within 15 miles (The normal requirement anyway).

    The problem with this is that the cost of housing, and living in general, has become so damned expensive that it is just unreasonable to ask that you live in town or even a few towns away.

    The city of Boston requires that you live in the city but what they pay guys there they can't even afford to rent an outhouse let alone decent housing to at least not have rodents.

    I think if you challenged it you would have to base your argument off of an affordability angle. I can understand wanting you to live within a few miles but I can;t see a requirement to live in the same community. I know a few towns that require you to live in town but they pay you only enough to live in one section of town, usually not the best or safest neighborhood.

    Many communities are dropping them or expanding them tremendously because of this. With many of the 42 hour work week schedules that we work up here we prefer to get away from work. I personally have not pursued positions on other departments because of this high housing cost and not enough compensation to live there.

    As for the call back thing, it seems to be that they are so few and far between nowadays that the argument has lost a lot of weight. It can be tough to substantiate it too since the number of recalls, for many departments, over a year will not be able to justify them, as well as the number of people that you are going to get on those recalls.
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    Da sharkie,
    Thats a problem I am too familiar with here!!!
    I live on the North shore and I live in DA***** and im trying to get on for WE**** or HA****** north of me, there somewhat ok with me not being from that town because some of there FF arnt from there either.

    But I tryed to get on with MI******* and TO******* but they got strict residency requirements,even though to my knowledge they are understaffed.Its very hard being 18 wanting to a FF so much you can taste it,but I guess I gotta just bide my time and wait.

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    Hey dfdex1, if your looking for employment in our area you might want to try the towm w/ the beach and E-204. They may be looking in a while. The only thing is they only run 3 guys a shift and the rookie usually gets stuck on the radio while the other 2 go on the call.
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    shammrock where you talking about???? Sals*****y
    Last edited by dfdex1; 09-30-2002 at 09:23 PM.

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    Yes, i'm not sure on the distance requirements,they do have them, but they may look for guys in the future and A***bury is done hiring medics supposedly and the next hires were scheduled to be off the basic list, but the list is long. hey good luck just take the tests and keep your ears open.
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    Our residency revolves around the civil service test. We have the county administer the entrance test, so you have to live in the county on appointment. The rules keeping us in the county are in the city charter. It states that all firefighters will hold residence in the county while employed by the fire department. This is to make for a quicker recall.
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    Michigan passed a law outlawing city-specific residency a couple of years ago. The guys from Detroit had a lot to do with getting that one pushed through. I believe the law let the requirement stand until the next contract was to be negotiated. There may still be some Depts that allow it through negotiations, mostly by including a XX mile radius. My Dept didn't require residency, so I wasn't too attentive to the particulars.
    For more info, try Detroit L#344 or the Michigan Professional Firefighters Union (MPFFU)

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    Ohio was considering a law abolishing residency requirements with the exception of those agreed to in contracts. I don't know whether it was adopted or not. It seems like it's only the larger career departments that have residency requirements for paid personnel. Most volunteer departments do, but that is based on the need to respond to the station in a timely manner.
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    Detroit's residency requirements are history. The legislature banned residency but the cities and towns can ask for a 25 mile limit. All residency requirements were held in force until a new contract was signed. The arbitrator gave us the no residency clause with no mileage limit. Unions can agree to residency in a contract but I don't think you'll see that.

    As for challenging it in a court of law, I really doubt you'll win even with an economic argument. Detroit tried this for years to no avail. Our economic argument was different in that we had to pay 3% city tax, home and auto insurance rates were enormous (30-60 % higher than the burbs)and we had to send our kids to private schools (average $2000-$3000 a year, even higher now) because of the horrible condition the city's schools are in (both economically and educational wise). Property taxes are the highest in the state and almost every neighborhood was a living nightmare. The courts said to bad, the city has the right to require it.

    The fight to have residency abolished state wide was a long hard fight but well worth it in the end.

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    There are two types of residency requirements you'll find. Requirements that an individual be a resident in order to take an exam or be considered for hire (resident preference) and a residency requirement as a condition of hire. There have been court challenges in the past regarding both.

    Residency requirements as a condition of hire are legal. A municipality can require an employee to live in the municipality or whatever area they deem acceptable. If the perspective employee is not a resident, they must be given reasonable time to assume residence. Six months seems to be the acceptable minimum amount of time to establish residence.

    Giving preference to non-residents concerning examination or hire has been found unconstitutional. A municipality cannot give an individual preference of hire based on their residency. I've seen cases, but unfortunately I've never made note of them.

    This drives me nuts! My city administrators are responsible to find and hire the best-qualified individual for the job. They found them by the standers of their own examination process. If they don't hire that person or worse yet, won't even let them take the exam, I consider that a breach of public trust!
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    Of the 33 fulltime members of my career department, 5 live more then an hour away. A good majority live in adjoining counties. When we have a massive incident they call back reserve members who have to live within 1 hour or 15 minutes depending on the level of reserve they are. It is very rare to have a career member called back on a day off due to an incident. Career department where I live requires that you live within the county.

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  15. #15
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    Default Residency requirements

    dfd304,
    Residency for employees is indeed legal. Several cases have been upheld by many courts including the US Supreme Court. Check the following: www.npelra.org/legal/residency.asp and www.ag.il.us/opinions/97-007.htm

    I remember reading an article in a journal that discusses public employee issues that discussed residency requirements where the municipalities were requiring the applicants for jobs to be residents. This I believe is illegal based upon the Constitutional right to travel.

    Once an employee, the employer has every right to determine where you live particularly if that job is safety related, and they can prove that this residency is important to public safety, ie: recalls.

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    Post Where do we go from here?

    Personal Opinion..... Residency Requirements should be illegal. Period. Having read the posts here, I can't see any justification for it whatsoever. Our most recent callback was on 9-11-01, before that was.......I don't remember. Callbacks are extremely rare in our department. We have people who get off work and head home to 5 other STATES from our department. I think that the IAFF and the NVFC should devote some time and effort to obtaining federal legislation to ban residency requirements of any kind. Stay Safe....
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    amfm, you are 100% correct.

    Residency for employees or as a condition of hire is legal.

    Requiring applicants to be residents or giving preference to residents is illegal.

    Whether you agree with legal residency requirements or not, municipalities can impose that requirement on their employees and for a variety of reasons … call back being only one. It is a benefit to the community to have a police officer or a firefighter living on a given street … not to mention it adds to the tax base.

    Federal legislation would be quickly found unconstitutional. 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights - The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
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