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Emanuel Likely To Keep Worker Residency Rule

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Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel

Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) – Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel is now all but ruling out relaxing Chicago’s residency requirements for police officer, firefighters and other city employees.

As WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, during the mayoral campaign, Emanuel said he was willing to listen to arguments for dropping the residency requirements for city workers.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

But as part of his transition is meeting, he told reporters he has heard those requirements, and has concluded that police officers and firefighters should live in the city.

“I understand it’s their desire, but to the city, they are more than police and fire,” Emanuel said. “They are anchors in the neighborhood. They’re the Little League coaches, the hockey coaches, the volunteers at the place of worship. They are anchors in not just their block but in their community, and that’s an investment I’m not ready to turn my back on.”

In a related matter, Emanuel reiterated his praise for Philadelphia police Commissioner Charles Ramsey as a candidate for Chicago Police superintendent.

During the mayoral campaign, Emanuel and opponent Gery Chico responded to a Fraternal Order of Police questionnaire by saying they were open to letting police officers live outside the city.

Chico focused far more on the issue than Emanuel, saying the city has outgrown the need for a residency requirement to prevent an exodus of the middle class.

Chico won the endorsement of the Chicago FOP and the firefighters’ union, but did not capture enough of the vote on Election Day to force Emanuel into a runoff.

Mark Donahue, the president of the Chicago FOP, said last month that he has tried for the past few years to get the law changed so Chicago Police could go to the bargaining table with the city and negotiate over whether police could officers live in the suburbs. Donahue says the FOP will make that legislative push again this session.

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