Residency Requirements

For those of you who may have been wondering if we have any institutional memory left (or, at least, if there was an institutional memory present last night), the answer is: um, probably not.

Because we’ve already had the residency discussion time and time again.  (Heck, some of us have had this discussion via email, which is where much of the meat of this post will come from.)

(Click here first for access to Proquest links.)

Did you know…

“The city [of Worcester] had a residency requirement for all employees, except those exempted by state law, for about seven years. But the requirement, adopted in 1977, grandfathered all existing employees and applied only to new hires. It was subsequently lifted in 1986 because the city was having difficulty filling several professional positions.”  (from the Telegram in 1994)

But wait!  Boston has a residency requirement, right?

Yes, Boston has had a residency requirement on the books since 1976.  However, as late as 1995, there were issues like the following:

“The residency law applies to about one-third of the city’s 19,000 employees. Though it has been on the books since 1976, previous administrations have largely ignored it, partly because so many employees are exempt, including all police officers, firefighters, teachers and most middle managers. Under collective bargaining agreements negotiated last year, newly hired police officers and firefighters will have to live in Boston.”

It seems like there are still compliance issues; in FY10, more than 100 employees left city service because they did not fulfill the residency requirement.

In sum: Boston has a requirement (Springfield does too, I think), they need a commission to enforce the requirement, and they sometimes toy with the requirement in exchange for collective bargaining concessions.

So — as far as I’m concerned — we already tried this — though none of us remembers that we already tried this — and unless we’re willing to look at why this didn’t work the first time around, and why it seems to be quite a headache for Boston, we will likely not succeed in any sort of residency requirement policy.

3 thoughts on “Residency Requirements

  1. Eric K. says:

    A residency requirement fits into the category of “nice idea in theory, but not practical in the real world.”

    For most positions, residency should be a desired qualification, not a requirement. I also have no problem with giving preference to residents for a position – all else being equal, I would prefer that we hire locally.

    Instead of a residency requirement, I suggest we focus our efforts on making the city more attractive to employees and their families so that they choose to move to Worcester instead of living elsewhere.

  2. princessbexsavard1981 says:

    here is my $0.02: if you are a city employee, it should be mandated that you actually be a resident of the city. No ifs ands or buts.
    If you want to live outside the city, then i suggest you find another line of work.

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