For The Advocate
The common council earlier this week concurred with the aldermen that Everett should have a residency requirement for police and fire department personnel hired after Jan. 1, 2012, but only after they amended the pending legislation to reduce the number of years that new public safety appointees would be required to live in the city.
The proposed residency law is contained two separate ordinance amendments – one for police, the other for firefighters.
The aldermen last week approved the plan calling for all new fire and police hires to live in Everett for at least the first 10 years of their employment.
On Monday night, the councilors, at the urging of Councilor DJ Napolitano, amended that key provision of the proposed law.
By a 9-6 vote, they lowered the number of years of required local residency from 10 to seven.
The amended residency proposal was then approved by the councilors on a 10-5 roll call vote.
Favoring the residency law were William Cardello, Rosa DiFlorio, Kenneth Giannelli, Catherine Hicks, DJ Napolitano, Adam Ragucci, Anthony Ranieri, David Rodrigues, Cynthia Sarnie and Sergio Cornelio.
Opposed were Lorrie Bruno, Joseph King, Rosemary Miller, Lou Sierra and Peter Napolitano.
The legislation now goes back to the aldermen to see if they will accept the council’s amendment.
If ultimately enacted into law, the twin measures would not be a pre-requisite for police or fire department promotions.
Councilor Bruno led the opposition at Monday night’s council session, claiming that police officers at times might be subjected to “retaliation” if they are required to live in the same community where they work.
“I don’t have it in my heart to dictate where future police officers have to live,” said Bruno.
But a number of councilors said that during the recent election campaign, they heard from many citizens who said they want a residency law.
“The voters of Everett want police officers who live in the city and I’ll vote for what they want,” said Councilor Hicks.
Councilor Ranieri, noting his support for the residency law, said it’s time for Everett to get its community pride back.
“To sit here and do nothing would be an injustice to the city,” asserted the Ward Six councilman.