Chico Says He Might End City Worker Residency Rule

CHICAGO (STMW) — Mayoral candidate Gery Chico said Tuesday he’s open to getting rid of the rule that requires city employees to live in the city, declaring Chicago’s middle class can survive without the residency requirement.

Chico dropped that political bombshell as he accepted the endorsement of the Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2, the Sun-Times is reporting. He has already been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel Reports

Together, the two unions and their retirees represent upwards of 20,000 people.

The Sun-Times reported earlier this month that both Chico and Rahm Emanuel were open to discussing the requirement that city employees live in Chicago. On Tuesday, Chico went far beyond that, declaring Chicago has outgrown the need for a residency requirement to prevent an exodus of the middle class.

“If I thought it was threatening to the middle class, I wouldn’t have put it on the table,” Chico said of dropping the residency rule.

He spoke at the firefighters union headquarters on West 43rd Street.

On Monday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson argued the opposite. Standing with mayoral hopeful Carol Moseley Braun after the Illinois Appellate Court bumped Emanuel off the Feb. 22 mayoral ballot due to a residency challenge, Jackson argued that if “you crack the door open” to eliminating the residency rule, Chicago would lose its middle class and its tax base.

Chico’s stand on the residency rule wasn’t the only thing that endeared him to firefighters. He’s also promising to maintain minimum staffing levels on fire apparatus — an issue that triggered a 1980 firefighters’ strike.

And Chico is promising to have a dialogue with the union to find “a rational, affordable solution” to the pension crisis.

The firefighters’ pension is the least well-funded of the city’s pension funds and would be the first to run out of money.

Firefighters have had a tumultuous relationship with Mayor Richard M. Daley and waited three years for a new contract, a situation Chico described as “an interest-free loan” from the rank-and-file. He said he would work toward timely negotiations to resolve any labor dispute.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • charles gorodess

    policemen and firemen are on duty technically 24/7. If they live out of the city, it will be more difficult for them to repined to a need. Also, they get their salary from the city so it is reasonable that the city ask them to invest back with their employer, the people of Chicago.

    • Tom Kman

      So if you work for FORD you have to drive a Ford idiot

    • CM

      Removing the residency requirement is a very bad idea for the city of Chicago.
      It helps business within the city and ensures the City has a strong tax base.

      The residency requirement means the city’s employees are representative of the diversity within the City of Chicago.

      If the requirment is removed Chicago will not have the tax base to maintain the current level of services.. Chicago will end up like Detroit.

  • Macho

    You don’t have my vote. They fired my dad from the city now your going to hire someone not from the city to take up positions? After all the years we lived in Chicago supporting our communities and city. Paying taxes, buying everything in the city now you want to give it away. CHICO FOR MAYOR? I DON’T THINK SO.

    • Vicky

      This a very debatable issue. Have we learn anything? Look at other major cities such as Detroit and Saint Louis who has lost their middle clas residents to the Surbs. Of course many of them work and do business with the city, because they don’t live there why should they have any concern for the city? Their children will not attend city publlic schools and libraries. The residents will not shop in the city unless it is downtown on State or Michigan Ave. I dont see many residents coming from Orland Park to a Target on Chicago southside.

  • Wally

    If Emanuel resided in Chicago from Washington, D.C., why can’t city worker reside in Chicago from the suburbs? HYPOCRITES!

  • Trish

    HOORAY for Gery Chico! I am in complete agreement with this latest proposal. Corporate workers and small businesses in Chicago do not force thier employees to live in city. I can only PRAY that Gery Chico gets elected as our next mayor. GO GERyY GO!

    • Vicky

      Trish, how do you propose to keep the city from becoming another ghost town like Detroit and Saint Louis just to name a few? Visit those cities and I guarantee you wont see many people in around the downtown area. Those cities were once jewles of the midwest and now they are just ghost towns and at one time they had life and celebrated it to the fullliest.

  • James Huerkamp

    No way, if you don’t live here in the city you can not work for the city. Plain and simple. If you want to live in burbs do not expect to have a job working for the city. Get on in the Burb that you live in.

  • Peggy

    I am an employee of the City of Chicago (Chicago Public School Teacher). I do not shop in Chicago due to the high tax rate, nor do I send my children to the public schools. It is about time that the ‘public servants of Chicago’ get to decide where they want to live reside without restrictions put upon them!

    • Kelly

      I thought teachers were considered state employees, not municipal. I’ve never heard of residency requirements for teachers, only administrators, and with the shortage in that labor pool, even those residency requirements are going by the wayside…

  • mike

    pls somebody turn off this group of over paid under worked water sprinklers. they chose these jobs and dare now make demands of those they serve. whinners is all i think of when i see or hear they want more, more, more. lets send em back to wal mart where they were before they hit the lotto and had their uncles daddy pick their name off a list in some back room. you want this job they were asked? yes. good. the job is here, living and working here. you still want it? yes. good then off you go with yr new box of tissue to address the next major problem. i’m out

  • Philip J. Wayne

    Chico doesn’t have to worry about this issue….within this day , the Supreme Court will reverse Monday’s decision and then it is bye bye Chico

  • Mercy

    I think the key word here is MIGHT and if Mr. Chico is a smart man he will listen to what the people are saying on this. The people here are extremely right when they say that many firemen, policemen, and others would rather live outside the city and you can wager on them living outside of Cook County. Anyone running for office must weigh the consequences before making any decisions, enough mistakes have bought us to the present crisis here in America.

  • mike

    he has my vote! why do people believe that there will be a mass exodus of employees from the city? Is it really that easy to uproot your whole family, sell your house, buy another house and then find a descent school for your kids? Of course some people would leave but a lot of city workers already live in good neighborhoods. I work in the ghetto, I don’t live in it and that hasn’t stopped me from doing my job. unfortunately i don’t have a significant other so i can’t afford to buy anything in a decent neighborhood on my own. at least make it reasonable boundary like a 25-30 mile radius from downtown.

    • timbucktoo

      If anyone did the research they would know that residency requirements have been struck down by the courts every time they are challenged. NY firefighters do not have to live in NY, just the surrounding counties. Why would it be worse here? Maybe people should realize that many will not leave if residency is lifted. If people do leave, maybe people should think about the reasons so many do leave, and fix those problems.

  • Life long resident

    This would be the biggest mistake the city could make and beleive me we’ve made a lot of them. If this goes thru, just imagine what your property would be worth and who would be lining up to buy…no one! Aside from the property issue, city workers could develope an “us vs.them” mindset when it came to going that extra mile in providing service with a “why should I care, my family doesn’t live here” attitude.Morale is the lowest it has been in the city in years but this is not the answer. Make it up to the city workers another way but stay away from the residency rule,it’s a Pandora’s Box for sure.

  • Tweets that mention Chico Says He Might End City Worker Residency Rule « CBS Chicago --

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  • mike

    why is everyone using detroit as an example? i really don’t think that a residency rule was the cause of that city’s demise, let’s try to stay on point here. i’m just taking a shot in the dark but i kind of think it was the horrible failure of GM, Chrysler, and Ford that contributed to detroit’s present state of affairs. you take away hundreds of thousands of jobs from any city and i guarantee you things won’t go that well.

  • suburbanite

    I can’t believe this is an issue, back in the 70’s I was aware of at least 10 Chicago firemen/policemen that lived in the FAR northwest suburbs(against the rules). So if I knew of that many you got to know there were a whole lot more.I say enforce the rule, if they do not like living there then why would they want to defend any part of it. As for the public school teacher that doesn’t send her kids to public school, are you and your peers that poor at your jobs that you don’t even trust the education children get in Chicago? The same arguement as for the police/fire, if you don’t participate in the locality than you can’t possibly be expected to believe in improving it.

  • CPD family

    I see both sides and as a CPD family, I would love to leave the city but understand what this would do to the glue that’s keeping the city from going ‘Detroit’. Maybe instead of letting us all flee to the outskirts of Cook before hitting Dupage, give us city workers a tax credit. We work here and are forced to live here so why not help us want to stay. My property tax bill of $13,000 pays for tourists and non paying city residents. I already go to the burbs to save on taxes for gas and food…

  • James Watkins

    So Mr Chico you are suggesting that that “non” residences would be our emergency response, police and fireman. Enjoy the votes of the 20,000 members of the police and firemen unions, but there are a few million other Chicago residents that also vote, oh great were left with CMB as a viable choice with this “thought” of yours. O K do we need to get a Republican, our democrats seem to have a lack of knowledge of the issues of voters. Come on Supreme Court, we need you Rahm…

  • Tom Kman

    no more city workers paying taxes all you welfare babies better get a JOB

  • Dan

    Be serious, if they got rid of all the “unneccessary” city workers it would save way more money than the taxes they pay

  • Doug

    I used to be middle class : > ) and still live in the city.
    I don’t work for the city
    I didn’t take flight.
    I think if it were checked out we’d learn a large portion of those obligated to live in the city, don’t.
    Those commenting about Emanuel, I’m not leaning towards him but really… really? He left Chicago to serve the country and the office of the President. You don’t have to like the current President to respect the office. Even during Bush’s reign I respected the office and if someone had moved to DC to serve the office I wouldn’t be using it to stop them from pursuing other goals. It’s cheap politics. Nothing less, nothing more.

  • Honestly Now

    That might be OK, as long as it doesn’t include the alderman. We don’t want them in our burbs.

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