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Left In Lowell » Blog Archive » Residency & The Townie Turnstyle

Left In Lowell

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2013 Candidate Questionnaire Responses!

November 1, 2011

Residency & The Townie Turnstyle

by at 12:25 pm.

The canary in the coal mine:

The office maintained a practice of providing selected persons with free copies of certified records for employees/family/friends, “elected officials and those who are politically connected.”(Originally printed in The Sun, now archived)

From a previous blog:

… I’ll suggest these talking points are not at all about bolstering the City Manager’s sense of stewardship. What it is about, is preserving a severly flawed approach to governing and the culture within the public sector that protects it. After decades of abuses in city hiring practices, there are pockets of laziness and poor practices enbedded in the system. There is a culture that embraces the “Townie Turnstyle.” Meaning, if they have known you all your life, you get the EZ Pass down at City Hall. Meaning, that there is not a level playing field for those attempting to conduct routine business with the City.

The City Manager has systematically diminished such bogus practices. That, my friends, puts many a nose out of joint.

So, when you hear the sobbing, wails and righteous indignation leveled in defense of some ‘victim.’ When the culprits in these aggressions are branded as, ‘heartless, data wielding, bureaucrats.” When one is coddled as a ‘public servant’ and the other a ‘public menace.’ Please consider that the source is potentially pulling at your heartstrings, with the intent of playing you for a chump.

Hiring Lowellians is always a hot topic on City Life. You can sense the frustration:
(30 second clip)

Watch live video from jackmitchell01850 on Justin.tv

Since this “issue” is a fave of the Editor of The Sun, it was applied as a litmus test in the Sun’s questionairre.
9. Should the city adopt a residency requirement for all city employees, just department heads, etc…?
To see the candidate profiles maintained by The Sun, Click Here.

Belanger: I would not support mandating a city residency requirement for all city employees. That being said, I do firmly believe that all cities benefit most when its policy-makers, employees, etc… have a significant and vested interest in the long term success of the municipality they serve. Therefore, I would support Lowell residents being given strong consideration for employment with the city.

Belley: I am not opposed to this plan today (for new hires) based upon this economic climate. I am confident we can get many qualified residents to fill positions today. However, I would suggest it be a sunset type of regulation because when the economy turns positive again, we need the assurance we can tap into the strongest candidate pool so the taxpayers are serviced at the highest level with the most qualified residents available.

Broderick: No, a strong preference to city residents is appropriate, however, in this day and age physical location is not as much of an issue in most positions.

Doyle: Yes. Look at at what we have now, a complete lack of compassion.

Elliott: Yes, I support a residency requirement for all city employees which is why I filed a motion to adopt to do just that. We have so many Lowellians that are out of work and should be given every opportunity to gain employment. I strongly believe that people are more invested in a place where they live. I feel we can find highly qualified individuals that live in Lowell or are willing to move here within an agreement amount of time.

Kennedy: No, I do not support a residency requirement for all city employees. However, among job candidates with equal qualifications, I support giving the job to a Lowell resident.

Leahy: No, although I do believe it would bring back a sense of pride to the City, it is a tough requirement to have.

Lorrey: No. We should hire the best-qualified applicants and create an environment that encourages them to move to Lowell after accepting a position to work here.

MacDonald: I have considered the issue and I have heard good points on both sides. I may consider that all current employees in the system be grandfathered and that future employees have 3 years to move to the City if they chose to accept a position offered to them. An approach like this may still encourage qualified applicants from outside the city and they could still apply for open positions. I do think it may help the city economically when people live in the city they work in. It may be worth a 5 year exploratory trial.

Martin: No. I agree that it is desirable that as many city workers as possible live in the city, but it is not practical to enforce this in an ordinance. The grandfathering provisions and exceptions that would be required to have a workable ordinance would leave an ordinance where the exceptions would apply to more workers than the ordinance would.

Mendonca: No. Preference should be provided to resident applicants, but to provide the best government and services, the best candidate for the position should be hired.

A. Mercier: Yes starting with the City Manager - I believe all senior managers should reside in the city.

R. Mercier: I have in the past made such a motion to grandfather every one that is there now, however in the future department heads should be from the city of Lowell. With a ruling from the law department, we learned that such a motion was not allowed by law. So it never materialized. We do have a policy in place that if two finalists in any position are both qualified equally the preference goes to the Lowellian. I still agree we need more people from Lowell to take on positions in city government. They are the ones who have a vested interest in the city.

Milinazzo: No, the city should not adopt a residency requirement for all city employees or department heads. If we had two equally qualified candidates, one who lived in Lowell; I would want the Lowell resident to be hired or promoted.

Murphy: The city should be hiring the best candidate possible, but with all qualifications being equal, it should also give special consideration to applicants from Lowell or encourage those not from here to become a part of our community.

Nuon: I want the best qualified person for any city job; however, if all things were equal, I would support the person who has residency because they are more likely to give back to the city by making local purchases, going to local restaurants, etc.

Pech: If two people are equally qualified for a position and one lived outside the city, I would choose the candidate who resides in Lowell.

9 Responses to “Residency & The Townie Turnstyle”

  1. migey Says:

    I can give you an example of the apathy that a specific out of town city worker recently had. During contract negoiations this “out of towner” wanted a increase in pay far beyond the industry standard. During my conversations about how my property taxes have gone up and will go up if the pay scale is adopted the response was “what do I care I don’t live in Lowell”. I think that the idea of professionalism gets lost when it comes to money and it hits hardest if it affects you directly.

  2. Jack Says:


    Are you suggesting that a city worker that gets a 3% increase in wages is concerned about a 2-1/2% increase in taxes? Let’s do the math.

    Wage: 45,500
    Property Tax: 3,000

    $45,500 x 0.03 = $1,365
    $3,000 x 0.025 = $75

    To offset the 3% raise, the city worker must incur a tax increase of 45-1/2%.

  3. Jack Says:

    This could boost morale in City Hall and The SAC Club.

  4. evelyn Says:

    I think the statements made by candidates like Pech (”If two people are equally qualified for a position and one lived outside the city, I would choose the candidate who resides in Lowell.”) and echoed by Kennedy, Milinazzo, Rita Mercier and Nuon, are a little empty. To say “if” we have two equal candidates, leaves open room for political maneuvering such as forwarding only one name for consideration, or claiming that the one selected was just a little bit better of a fit, or some equally other nonsensical statement.

    I prefer the Honesty and Integrity of the answers given by Doyle, Lorrey, Leahy and Martin. Whether in favor or opposed, they came out with an Honest answer that did not sound like a politician.

    Belley and MacDonald were all over the road trying to talk out of both sides of their faces.

  5. SpindleSister Says:

    migey, aren’t contract negotiations supposed to be confidential?

  6. Jack Says:

    Oh Sister,
    You crack me up. Confidential ROTFL

    Fortunately, the Councilors don’t have much opportunity to fall into a trap of “political maneuvering.” Since, according to the Plan E Charter, they don’t have their noses in too many resumes.

    Odd how that works out, huh? Maybe, when they designed Plan E, they took care to remedy certain “traps” they had seen in the past?

    Wow. Could a generation, from days gone by, have passed their wisdom onto us, via Paln E? Yet, some are bent on resetting those “traps.”

  7. tryin' to stay anonymous Says:

    Wonder if Lexington needs a residency requirement, or Weston? Maybe Winchester?

    How come it is only the places with low income housing and populations that “need” a residency requirement?

    For the record it is highly unlikely you get hired in Lowell in either of the public safety departments unless you have residency preference via civil service. That means you need to document you have at least one year of residency prior to taking the exam. So you can take the hiring process of some 450 or so employees right off the top, who already have a residency requirement to get the job in the first place.

    Whatever happened to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

  8. Brian Says:

    My heart says there should be a residency requirement but my head says there shouldn’t. I really think it looks bad when native Lowellian city employees live outside the city. Especially the dept heads. It sets a bad example. I’ve seen a lot of cops leave the city after working a couple years on the job. They must see so much negativity that they just want to get away. I guess we just need to keep fighting to make Lowell a better place to live so more people want to live here.

  9. Bob Forrant Says:

    Bingo, Brian! Work to make Lowell a better and better place to live and much of the residency flap-doodle will go away except at election time when desperate candidates want to grab onto an emotional life support system. Sitting councilors should be wondering why potential hires don’t live in the city and doing everything they can to solve the identified problems. Knee jerk solutions to complex problems, my mother always used to say to me, are almost always jerk solutions!

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