Time for a big change

By EDITORIAL  |  February 18, 2009

Meanwhile, the city's employees forced to keep a Boston address — clerks, secretaries, and those in their first years on the job — are disproportionately the least powerful, and least able to afford the city's high rents and home prices.

The result is an unintended farce. We pretend that the city benefits from paper-pushers in the education department living among the students, when the teachers live out in the 'burbs. We think nothing of paging an on-call veteran homicide detective in Milton, who would be exempt from residency requirements, for a 3 am shooting, but won't let a second-year cop commute from just across the Brookline border.

If the city agrees to drop the pretense, it can trade the residency requirement for concessions, of much greater value to the city. In recent contract negotiations, the city's unions have shown how dearly they want the rule revoked — for merely capping the requirement at 10 years on the job, they have been willing to have their members pay a greater share of health-insurance costs. It's time to find out what they're willing to swap for eliminating residency altogether.

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