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residency requirements

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  • residency requirements

    i was just wondering if most departments have residency requirements.
    also what is the point of them. i can understand with vollie depts, but why for full time stations?

  • #2
    Mostly they're just small-mindedness on the part of politicians. The theory is that municipal employees should "spend their money in the town where they made it." Some politicos just don't like the idea of hiring "out of towners" and insist on hiring locally instead of hiring the best candidates for the job...

    There is some rationale based on off-duty employees being near-by if they are recalled in an emergency but that neglects the fact that, in most cases, those same employees aren't required to come back off-duty anyway...

    FWIW, CT no longer legally allows mandatory residency requirements accept as mutually agreed by contract. Currently almost half of our career people live out of town -- including one who lives in VT.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.


    • #3
      thanks, that seems to sum up the arguments pretty well.

      i know hartford has a requirement, is there anywhere else that does?


      • #4
        It’s all about the politics. As with any public service job to some degree - the fire department, police, sanitation, city hall receptionist etc –are all political patronage positions. The incumbent politicians promote/hire those people whom they perceive to be the most like minded or loyal to their own office and agenda.

        If Mayor Eddie Perez says that only residents of the City of Harford can apply to be on the fire department and I am a lucky resident who manages to make it through the selection process, who do you think Eddie is counting on me to vote for in the mayoral election? Maybe I would be inclined to vote for the guy responsible for implementing a hiring policy insuring I got a good paying city job and not someone else who lives out in the suburbs.

        Don’t get me wrong, there are benefits to drawing only from a resident applicant pool. Employees might take more pride in their jobs and serving the community if they also happen to live in that same community. Employees would be much closer by if an emergency call back were needed. It is also nice for the local tax coffers to have municipal paycheck dollars stay in the community and re-spend in local stores and businesses.

        I understand the resident requirement but I really don’t agree with it. If a municipality is trying to balance the need to find the most qualified applicants and award some consideration to local residents then do what New Britain or New Haven do and award 5+ points to your score based on resident status. By limiting the applicant pool to only those people living in a certain geographic region, municipalities are really just short changing themselves by limiting the talent they can attract. Besides, if I intentionally move somewhere just in anticipation of getting a fire department job, how long after I get hired or rejected do the local officials really expect, or even be able to enforce, how long I need to stick around.

        I don’t know if there are any better alternatives to the system in CT as it stands. I would not be a huge fan of setting up a statewide civil service exam such as in MA as has been discussed on this forum previously basically because I see it as being the opposite extreme to the strict residency requirement. Rather than apply selectively to departments you would be interested in serving with, you end up applying everywhere. No one says you need to take job somewhere you don’t want to, but it seems like just another layer of bureaucracy.

        Anyway… that’s my 2 cents.


        • #5
          I REALLY don't like residency requirments! Those depts that have them don't really enforce them anyway. We just got rid of ours in the last contract. It was 30 mins from town hall. One assistant chief lives in the Mystic area. So how they gonna enforce that? It also sells the dept short if you need to live in the actual city (Hartford). Why limit yourself that much? If I was chief I would want the best of the best from the whole state. Can you imagine if Hartford didn't have that requirment? They would have the cream of the Connecticut crop!!! Maybe even all of New England. Most Hartford guys move out after they get hired anyway if they really lived there in the first place.

          The argument that my last dept used was mentioned by DeputyMarshal. They wanted there town employees to spend their sallary in town. This is the stupidest thing I ever heard of! So if someone who is not a town employee lives in the house I would have lived in if I followed a residency requirment - they wouldn't spend any money in town? Of course they would! So what's the difference? There is none!!!!

          The cival service thing is a great idea!!! If it models Mass - you would pick the depts you want to work for. You won't even be offered a job in a town you didn't sellect.
          IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!


          • #6
            Originally posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
            The theory is that municipal employees should "spend their money in the town where they made it."
            That attitude always bothered me. It sounds like I should feel guilty because my salary is from local taxes so I should give it back to the community.

            The union contract no longer has a residency requirement, mostly for the reasons DeputyMarshal stated. We rely on callback personnel, but the fire fighters are not required to return when paged. Over the last 25 years, we went from 2 years residency to apply (you could move once hired), to a 20 minute travel distance from fire HQ, to no requirements other than a valid CT drivers license.

            The Chief and I both have our own contracts. Our contracts specifically state we are not required to live in town.

            Residency requirements only help elected official who are trying to win votes.
            Last edited by KenNFD1219; 05-18-2007, 01:26 PM.
            "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
            Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.


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