Springfield Mayor comments on residency court case

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A recent point of contention in the City of Springfield revolves around the city’s requirement that all city employees must live within Springfield. Despite the city requirement, several city employees, including those in the police and fire departments do not live within the city.

On Friday, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno issued a statement on the matter. In this statement sent to 22News, Sarno mentions both that he is an avid supporter of the residency requirement but that the court invalidated the Ordinance provisions mandating automatic termination; he continues that the requirement is a complex situation.

Sarno does say that he has demanded residency as part of union contracts as a means of efficiently dealing with the issue for the past several years. Sarno states: “The complexity and difficulty in attempting to enforce the Residency Ordinance, at the same time as complying with the relevant collective bargaining agreements and civil service laws, and Constitutional principles of Due Process, has been an impediment to every Mayor for the decades since the Ordinance was enacted.” Sarno also added that most city employees who were in violation of the ordinance had been given exemptions until Mayor Sarno negotiated Residency Requirements into collective bargaining agreements.

To further the residency requirement, Mayor Sarno announced Friday his picks to run the City of Springfield’s Residency Compliance Commission.  Mayor Sarno will appoint six members to the seven-member commission, with City Council President Marcus Williams appointing the seventh member.    

Those residents appointed by the Mayor to serve on Residency Compliance Commission are:

  • Attorney Talia Gee – Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
  • Gladys Oyola – City Clerk/Election Commissioner
  • Captain Drew Piemonte – Springfield Fire Department / Union Representative
  • Melanie Acobe – Budget/Grants Director
  • Lavar Click-Bruce – Mayoral Aide
  • Alex Sherman – Election Commissioner

Sarno is quoted as saying: “I want to thank those individuals who have agreed to serve on our Residency Compliance Commission.  This has been a very complex and multifaceted process, as evident by the lengthy time period it has taken our courts to review this matter.”

An ordinance filed with the city in 2012, does specify that since 1986, residency has been a requirement for not only employment but also promotion.

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