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  1. #1
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    Default Need your feedback on residency requirements

    We just finished our trial period of the 48/96. However pressure from some local citizens in the area has swayed our chief and board into imposing a residency requirement. Our fire district is located in the Monterey Bay area in Santa Cruz County, California. It's not uncommon to pay upwards of 600K for a two bedroom condo. We cannot even come close to affording a moderately priced home in Santa Cruz or any surrounding counties. The closest affordable areas are usually loaded with crime, gangs, and poor infrastructure. In order to find some place half decent and affordable you need to go at least 2-3 hours away. This isn't so bad considering the alternatives. My question is for anyone who has had to deal with this issue.
    Do you have a residency requirement? How do you feel about being imposed with such a restriction? I'm hoping to get as much feedback as possible so that our union can prove to our administration what's reasonable and what's not.

    P.S. I'm apologize if this is a repeated topic


  2. #2
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    That sucks!

    We don't have a residency requirement. If I'm not mistaken, the Police Department does have a residency requirement. I can't check right now, but I'll verify what their residency requirement is.

    Personally, why would the residents be pushing for this requirement? That seems *****y to me. What is their reasoning? I always thought one idea behind the 48/96 was that you would drive to work less... therefore who gives a rats***** where you live.

    Sure maybe for smaller departments that might need to do a call-back for a "large" incident, a residency requirement might be good... BUT most larger departments rarely do call-backs. I never have liked the idea of my job telling me where I can/can't live... therefore, I avoided departments with those policies. Good luck fighting this! Keep us updated about what they decide.
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

  3. #3
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    One way to fight the residency requirement is to determine a salary that will allow you to live in that community. A department that I know of was facing the residency requirement. Once the union produced figures on a salary that would allow their members to live there, the residency issue was dropped when the town learned how much more it would cost.

  4. #4
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    I've had more than a few friends that were on departments that put in residency requirements (this was before the state banned residency requirements state wide). What happened was that the residency requirement would be for all new hires from the date the requirement took effect. Everyone else was grand fathered in, which meant, they would not be required to sell their homes and move into the city. Their unions fought for the grandfather requirements by stating that it would be a huge hardship (personally and financially) to the membership to have to sell their homes and pack up and move. Grandfathering is actually pretty common. Have your union look into it.

    This will probably cause the number of new applicants to fall sharply if the city's housing is unaffordable for the new hires.
    Last edited by Firedawg3313; 10-13-2006 at 10:34 AM.

  5. #5
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    My opinon is that you want to work in a town,You should live in the town
    or very close to it,I have seen to many times the attitude of screw it,
    I dont live here from both cops and firefighters.
    Go ahead and bash me if you must but I feel that you must have some
    pride and respect for the people that are paying you,Not just being there to
    collect a paycheck.

    rant off sitting in the corner waiting for the beating.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber pedalinmedic's Avatar
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    my feeling is this: i am getting paid to provide/do a service/job. I am not getting paid to live beyond my means.

  7. #7
    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    I work for a department with a strict city-residency requirement. All city employees must live inside city boundaries on your date of appointment. The rule is also a city ordinance, so it has been around for the entire time the city was incorporated.
    I personally donít like it, and it is a hardship, particularly for families. Specifically, our property taxes are through the roof, our crime rate is out of control and soaring, the public school system is abysmal, at its best. Many guys I work with are spending 10,000-15,000 dollars a year on tuition for their children to attend private schools because the public schools are so terrible.

    Now, the other side of the coin is this; you donít have a constitutional right to be a firefighter, and as long as the rule is in place prior to your being hired, you agreed to terms of your employment by taking the job. If that is the case, there really is no difference than saying you will maintain an EMT license, or become a paramedic; a residency rule is really no different than any other pre-employment job requirement. These are also not my opinion, these are the opinions given by courts when we attempted to challenge our residency rule.

  8. #8
    Forum Member jlcooke3's Avatar
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    Do you have a residency requirement? How do you feel about being imposed with such a restriction? I'm hoping to get as much feedback as possible so that our union can prove to our administration what's reasonable and what's not.
    No we don't have a residency requirement. As far as my feelings on such requirement. If the department is willing to deal with the consquences of such requirements fine. The consquences typically are lower number of applicants for positions and more overtime pay due to failure to fill open positions. If I'm not mistaken, your employer cannot change the circumstances of your employement. i.e. When you were hired there was no residency requirement, they cannot now require you to meet residency requirements without compensating you.

  9. #9
    Forum Member jlcooke3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dashman
    My opinon is that you want to work in a town,You should live in the town
    or very close to it,I have seen to many times the attitude of screw it,
    I dont live here from both cops and firefighters.
    Go ahead and bash me if you must but I feel that you must have some
    pride and respect for the people that are paying you,Not just being there to
    collect a paycheck.

    rant off sitting in the corner waiting for the beating.
    And on the other hand I have worked with those that live where they work with the attitude of screw it. Where you live doesn't instill pride in your job (or at least shouldn't). Residency requirements may work in some areas where housing and the salary are on par. They do not work when the cost of living and housing far exceed the salary being paid, or when the only other option is to live in some ghetto where you just as likely to be shot as said hello to. The one part of your post that we both agree with is that we all should have some pride and respect for the people that are paying us.

  10. #10
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    The state of California has a law in effect that states that a fire department or other public service agency can set a residency requirement within a "reasonable" boundary. It does not specify a distance or hour mark. This is up to the department to determine. The issue with us now is, "what's reasonable" and what's not. Our administration have agreed to grandfather in those who currently live out side of the county (which is the 2nd smallest county in California) and have proposed limiting residency to only the surrounding counties. So those who currently live in these area's or are new hires are now limited where they can live. The problem is that you have nothing to gain in any of the surrounding counties because their affordability is just as outrageous if not worse! Their reasoning, the administration, is that in the event of a disaster off duty personnel would have a delay in response to support any relief efforts. That's understandable but not consistent enough to me or the union to necessitate a residency requirement. Besides if there is a disaster in the area and I live in the area, or nearby, don't you think that thereís a chance my home or family might also be affected by this disaster?

  11. #11
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    Besides if there is a disaster in the area and I live in the area, or nearby, don't you think that thereís a chance my home or family might also be affected by this disaster?


    Or any where else? With that logic I hope you find a nice safe Batcave to live in.Not to be a smart *** but think about your above quote.

  12. #12
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    Here is CMPD's residency requirement:
    Residency Requirements for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officers

    The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Rules of Conduct dictate that all sworn police officers will:

    * Reside in North Carolina
    * Within a 45 mile radius of Police Headquarters

    While they are employed with the CMPD, all sworn employees must continue to abide by this rule.

    Please use this link to help you determine if your residence is within the bounds the CMPD allows: 45 Mile Radius Map (pdf)
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

  13. #13
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    Default

    Years ago, when I was job hunting, I was looking through a department's web site-unfortunately, I can't remember which department it was.

    This department took a different approach-they didn't require you to live in the city, but if you chose to live outside of the city, you had to pay an "in-lieu" of tax; if I remember correctly, I think it amounted to 3% of your salary.

    One of my former employers had a "30 minute response" residency requirement-it was virtually ignored as it was unenforceable ("I can make it if I drive at the speed of sound").

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskerMedic
    Years ago, when I was job hunting, I was looking through a department's web site-unfortunately, I can't remember which department it was.

    This department took a different approach-they didn't require you to live in the city, but if you chose to live outside of the city, you had to pay an "in-lieu" of tax; if I remember correctly, I think it amounted to 3% of your salary.
    I would certainly hope that if you lived within the city limits, they would reduce your taxes or increase your salary by the same 3% they would charge someone living out of town.


    We have a residency requirement per se... 15 air miles (or as the eagle flies) from the City line. Existing single family homes sell in the $300K to $600K range, new construction starts in the mid $600K and up to $1.2 million. Condos range from the $150K for a garden style, to $400K for a townhouse. Even homes in the mobile home parks are in the $100K range for a nice one.

    In the last contract, the residency clause was more or less rescinded. It can be reinstated if the Fire Chief determines that responses to call backs is insuffucient, but it would only affect new hires as of the date of reinstatement. ANyone who moved out of the 15 air mile radius would not be required to move back into the city.

    My own opinion about residency...

    In my 25 years on "da job", when someone is having a serious medical emergency, been trapped in a car wreck or their home is on fire, I have yet to be asked if I live in the city, or been told that they wanted a "city resident" to treat them, cut them out of the wreck or put the fire out. If the people we serve don't care where we live, why should the politicians who make these stupid rules?
    ‎"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."
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  15. #15
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    In short, residency requirements suck.

    Where I am when I'm off-duty is none of the damn department's business as long as I show up for my assigned shift.

    (CT finally did away with residency requirements as a mandatory subject of bargaining. They can only be in the contract if both labor and management want them. If either party says, "No," they're out of the contract. Needless to say, nobody in labor has any reason to leave them in...)
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  16. #16
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dashman
    My opinon is that you want to work in a town,You should live in the town
    or very close to it,I have seen to many times the attitude of screw it,
    I dont live here from both cops and firefighters.
    Go ahead and bash me if you must but I feel that you must have some
    pride and respect for the people that are paying you,Not just being there to
    collect a paycheck.

    rant off sitting in the corner waiting for the beating.
    I live roughly 5 counties away from the city I protect as a firefighter. Why? Because I can. Whose business is it where I live? Mine. My FD has NO residency and cares only about you being there when your shift begins.

    There is a huge fallacy in your attitude. You assume that I or anyone else must be a resident in order to care for the citizens we serve. Perhaps you need that motivation of them being your neighbors in order to find a reason to care. I do not. When I am on duty I give the citizens of the city I protect 100%. Being a resident of that city or not has no effect on my dedication to duty.

    Residency is an archaic rule that does nothing more than make you pay taxes back to the city to help pay your own wages.

    FyredUp

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dashman
    My opinon is that you want to work in a town,You should live in the town
    or very close to it,I have seen to many times the attitude of screw it,
    I dont live here from both cops and firefighters.
    Go ahead and bash me if you must but I feel that you must have some
    pride and respect for the people that are paying you,Not just being there to
    collect a paycheck.

    rant off sitting in the corner waiting for the beating.
    You are a goof. 1. They don't pay us enough to make living here, in a decent neighborhood, affordable 2. They are paying me to do a job, not have a cheery *** attitude. 3. The "people that are paying me" don't live anywhere near my still district. 4. I am there to collect a check - it's a job, remember?!? I'm stuck with residency and I knew the rules when I signed on so I'll continue paying several thousand dollars a month to live in a less than desireable neighborhood, but don't try to tell me to like it or that it's right. Jagoff.
    Last edited by ChicagoFF; 11-09-2006 at 09:45 PM.
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

  18. #18
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    In Boston, the residency requirement was a political tool for the Mayor to win more votes back in 1994. Times were tough; city government was (as it still is) incompetent, crime was out of control, etc. The Mayor felt that by requiring city workers to live within city limits he would get better quality residents.

    Members of the Union settled a contract by agreeing to residency for any additional hires. Of course single family homes in nice neighborhoods were only $150,000 at the time. Now they're $450,000. Also, we have some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country.

    Lastly, there are no guarantees as to where you children go to school. You can live in a nice neighborhood like West Roxbury, or St. Brendan's in Dorchester, only to have your children bused out to other neighborhoods, while others are bused in for diversity reasons. To top it off, students of African American and Hispanic descent are entitled to the Metco program and can be bused to some of the wealthier suburbs, to bring diversity into those neighborhoods as well. Note: I don't fault any parents for taking advantage of the Metco program, I just don't believe its fair or appropriate. Anyway, we're really stuck between a rock and a hard place here.

    Out of 1,500 members we now have at least 500 covered by residency, so we're gaining momentum. My guess is eventually we'll settle for smaller raises, or something to that extent in order to get out of it. It may take 5 or 10 years and might create some hostility but it will happen.

  19. #19
    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    The funny thing is, most people who support residency policies are those who don't live under one, and those that do don't have big-city, high-crime issues to deal with, like whether their kids will be safe in school, or whether their teacher will be sexually assaulted in front of them.

  20. #20
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    jasper....just step across the border and apply....



    Residency is nothing more than a way for the admin and the mayor to put their thumbs on the forehead of the firefighters OR other city workers and control them. Nothing more, nothing less.

    FyredUp

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