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  1. #1
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    Default advice on how to fight residency requirments

    Here in Memphis, our department has a very restrictive residency requirement (you must live inside the city limits to be a Memphis firefighter). Most of us believe this is terribly unfair. Does your department have (or has it ever had)a residency requirement? Are you fighting it or have you fought it? If so, I am looking for advice on how to get this senseless restriction of our freedom eliminated. Please give advice.

    Thanks
    Knuckledraggin' axeslinger


  2. #2
    Fire Chaplain IACOJRev's Avatar
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    Question

    Is the residency requirement a city ordinance or a line item in the labor contract?
    Resident Chaplain of the IACOJ

  3. #3
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    Default city ordinance

    It is a city ordinance

  4. #4
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Default

    Knuckledragger... first off, let me tell you that I belive residence requirements, in a word, suck.

    Are other City of Memphis employees (cops, teachers, public works, clerical, etc) bound by the same ordinance? If not, then the Local has grounds to file suit, possible under unfair labor practices.

    My community is under civil service rules as far a residence requirements go. The statute is 15 air mile radius from the city limits, although the ultimate control of residence requirenmnts rests with each individual community. In our last contract, the City and the Local agreed to a more reasonable approcah. In a nutshell, we no longer have the 15 mile radius requirement, however, the Fire Chief has the right to reinstitute it if he feels that there is insufficint response to department call backs. If I am not mistaken, the request to renact eh residence rules must be done in writing and with sufficent notice. Anyone who has moved out of the 15 mile radius prior to the reinstitution of said residence radius requirement will be exempt.

    I don't know about your area, but housing here is very expensive. The average home costs for existing construction ranges between $60 to $80K for a garden style $100 to $185K for a townhouse condo. Existing single family homes average $225 to $450K, new construction is between $600K and $1.5 million!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  5. #5
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Default

    I see two options. One, try and get the ordinance changed or two, take them to court. But I think most of these that have been chalenged have been upheld. Perhaps you would have better luck.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

    IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

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  6. #6
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    Default Fire, Police, and public works

    The residency requirement applies to Fire, Police, and Public works. I am not sure whether or not it applies to the employees of Memphis Light, Gas, and Water, the utilities company owned by the city. And I know that it does not apply to teachers in the Memphis City School system, but I have been told that they are actually paid by the state.

  7. #7
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    Hey Truck Guy, I think you may be pis*ing in the wind Pal. Unless the City changes the ordinance and does away with this, you might as well move into the city within the one year time frame or go elsewhere.

    They way that the city hall does business and getting them to change this ordinance, you would be more likely to get a shuttle ride from NASA quicker!!

    I think that at this time of the year, I would be worried about being laid off. Its time to ditch the Mayor and his flunkies!!!


    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    Default

    We don't have to live within the city limits, HOWEVER:

    Candidates who do get a 5 point bonus on entrance exams.

    You must live in a county that's within a 50 mile radius from the city.

    You must live in State.

    And here is the best part:

    If you live outside the city limits you must pay an 1127 tax. This comes to about 4.45% of the following:

    1. Your city wages.
    2. Your other income and/or wages within or outside the city.
    3. Your spouse's income and wages within or outside the city.

    Yes, that says spouse's income, even though she is not a city employee.

    Every effort to date to fight this Taxation without representation has failed in the courts.

  9. #9
    Forum Member Lewiston2FF's Avatar
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    Default

    Originally posted by E229Lt

    And here is the best part:

    If you live outside the city limits you must pay an 1127 tax. This comes to about 4.45% of the following:

    1. Your city wages.
    2. Your other income and/or wages within or outside the city.
    3. Your spouse's income and wages within or outside the city.

    Yes, that says spouse's income, even though she is not a city employee.

    Every effort to date to fight this Taxation without representation has failed in the courts. [/B]
    Let me get this straight because you are a city employee and do not live in the city, all of your income gets taxed along with your spouses income? How is that legal? Is it a way for the city to get some of their money back? I know that NYC residents pay a separate income tax, is this a way to collect that from non residents that work for the city? Unbelievable!
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

  10. #10
    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    Default knuckledragger ....

    I work for the City of Milwaukee, WI and we have the same kind of residency rule as do you. It is a city ordinance here as well, and it applies to all city employee's with the exception being teachers. Their residency rule is a contract item, they are not considered to be "city employeee's". Your guess is probably as good as mine on the reasoning with that.


    We along with our police have been fighting for years, and have even appeared before numerous courts. They have all ruled against us each time. Their contention is that since it is a pre-employment condition, you are aware of it (residency rule) prior to taking the oath of office. Their ruling also is that it is not a constitutional right to be a firefighter or work for that particular city (Milwaukee in the case here).
    It is also about cost, how much money do you or your locality wish to spend on fighting this specefic issue?
    I hope I haven't painted to glum of a picture for you here.

    Saty safe

  11. #11
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    Default

    I am not sure about how much money we will have to fight this. Currently, we have a bill going before the state legislature that would outlaw residency requirements in our state. I do not expect it to meet with much success, but I do know of at least 5 other states that have such a law.

  12. #12
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    Default

    Philadelphia firefighters attempted to fight the residency requirement. The court ruled that residency was a condition of employment that was well known to employees and the residency requirement was not unreasonable. If you read the legal brief, it basically says that "firefighters knew this coming in, it is the right of the city to restrict where they live, and if they don't like it, they can quit the job." I don't remember the case number, but I can look it up for you in a couple weeks when I have my fire service personnel management book back.

    Good luck. As was stated before, you may be ****ing in the wind. The only thing that I can think of is to study the rulings of Philadelphia and Milwaukee, and think of a reason why you're case is different. If it isn't different, you have a very slim chance of changing the rule.

    Eric

  13. #13
    Forum Member Rescue2947's Avatar
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    Default

    I dont have advise but our municiple has a residency requirment. You have to live in within 20 miles from the station for 90% of our members. The other 10% can live out of the area. Now if your a new hire, you wont have the luxury of living out of area because the guys with more senority have taken that 10%.

  14. #14
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    Default Not popular but my opinion

    I wish we had residency requirements. To many people come into the city earn there paycheck and head onto whatever sleepy little town they live in. You want a City job live in the city. Especially for cops and firefighters.
    “Just when you think something is made to be Idiot Proof. They go a head and make a better Idiot”

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Not popular but my opinion

    Originally posted by Neman13
    I wish we had residency requirements. To many people come into the city earn there paycheck and head onto whatever sleepy little town they live in. You want a City job live in the city. Especially for cops and firefighters.
    Unless you can give a specific reason as to why this policy should be adopted, and why it would benefit the department and taxpayers, this sounds like jealousy to me. What's your beef?

    Eric

  16. #16
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    Default No Beef just my opinion!

    No beef, I could sell my house and move out of the country and live like a king in a newer bigger house on some land. We have no city requirements. We get beat up politically because no one lives in the city. If you can’t vote for the people giving you the pay raises then you get put on the back burner. Not to mention recalls for all hands fires. Nothing like having your recalls guys coming from 15, 20 mins away. I would love to see every body hired from now on in my city be required to be a city resident.
    Last edited by Neman13; 03-03-2005 at 06:47 PM.
    “Just when you think something is made to be Idiot Proof. They go a head and make a better Idiot”

  17. #17
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    Default

    Recalls and being a voter. Two good reasons. Thanks.

    Eric

  18. #18
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Default I thought being an AMERICAN ...

    Meant if you showed up to work on time, did your job the right way and cared about the people you worked for, that it shouldn't matter where you live. The City of Chicago has a residency requirement. The funny thing now is that guys coming on the job can't afford to live there...Unless they live in the ghetto.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  19. #19
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    Default Re: I thought being an AMERICAN ...

    Originally posted by MIKEYLIKESIT
    Meant if you showed up to work on time, did your job the right way and cared about the people you worked for, that it shouldn't matter where you live. The City of Chicago has a residency requirement. The funny thing now is that guys coming on the job can't afford to live there...Unless they live in the ghetto.
    To me, residency requirements just don't make since for a city like Chicago. I'm guessing that Chicago could handle a 4 or 5 banger almost entirely by itself, and if needed, could get more than enough support from automatic and mutual aid. What is the point of residency requirement for them?

    In a smaller department, with mutual/automatic aid a great distance away, the requirement makes sense. What do you think Mikey?

    Eric

  20. #20
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Default

    It has nothing to do with calling members back. It goes back to good ol' politics. The Machine wanted to make sure that all city employees voted the right way. Then it was to combat "white flight". The U.S Supreme Court has already ruled that public employees should not be expected to bear the brunt of changing demographics. I am not sure what the reasoning is anymore. Most suburbs around here allow you to live outside of your city of employment. Heck, there are suburbs that NO firefighter could afford to live. The city is getting the same way. We had unlimited residency, but "gave back" to the city a 15 mile radius. That allows us to respond on call backs and to the city's credit they do call us back fior most serious emergencies. But in smaller towns, it does get a bit uncomfortable when you run across a guy whos home you were at on an ambulance call that beat up his wife. I am a firm believer if you show up when you are supposed to, then your employer should not tell you where to live.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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