Council Divided Over Residency Regulation

The approval of new regulations requiring that Cambridge municipal employees live within city limits has become a divisive issue among candidates for Cambridge City Council.

A second reading of the ordinance, sponsored by Councillor Timothy J. Toomey, Jr., was approved at the council's meeting Tuesday by a 6-3 vote, split on party lines between progressive and conservative candidates.

The ordinance would require that all employees hired after Jan. 1, 1996 must either be current residents of Cambridge or move into the city within six months after starting employment.

Councillor Anthony D. Galluccio, who is endorsed by the conservative Alliance for Change, said he supported the proposal because he felt taxpayers and residents should be given first priority for city jobs.

"We will not be hiring non-qualified applicants. We will be promoting qualified people who contribute to the property taxes and community life of Cambridge," he said.

But the measure was opposed by Councillors Kathleen I. Born, Francis H. Duehay '55 and Katherine Triantafillou, all of whom are endorsed by the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA), a progressive citizens' group.

Triantafillou criticized the proposal as "anti-woman, anti-affirmative action and fiscally irresponsible."

"[A]ny increased residency requirements would not only diminish affirmative action measures, but would also increase the existence of patronage hiring in the city," she said.

Triantafillou, a civil rights attorney, also said the proposal was ambiguous about which positions would be affected and could cost the city thousands of dollars in court challenges.

Toomey said the legislation was modeled after laws already used in other cities and would withstand any legal changes. "It's a solid proposal," he said in an interview with The Crimson.

But Born said the new regulations were both unwise and an example of "intrusive government." "I don't think you should legislate where people sleep," she said.

Officials in the city manager's office said statistics on the number of municipal employees affected by the new rules will not be available until next week.

The ordinance will become binding if approved by the council on a third reading, which Toomey said he expects will occur later this month.

A frequent topic of debate over the last several years has been whether to promote current city employees or to conduct nationwide searches when hiring candidates for top administrative positions.

CCA-endorsed candidates support a nationwide search for a new police commissioner to replace outgoing Commissioner Perry I. Anderson, who will retire at the end of this year.

Anderson, the former police commissioner in Miami, Fla., was tapped to head the Cambridge force in 1991.

His resignation, Born said, was due to pressure from conservative candidates backed by the Alliance who feel local candidates better understand the city. "We have so many good people here," said Galluccio, an outspoken critic of Anderson in the past.