New Ordinance Could Shake Up Police, Fire Department Employment

By: Stephen Johnson
By: Stephen Johnson

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Former Rockford fire chief, Bill Robertson understands the challenges that come along with adding new firefighters to the department.

“I think when we limit ourselves to people who just simply live in the city, we're going to find that's going to do a lot of damage to the quality of our police and fire department", says Robertson, who now serves as a city alderman.

Rockford aldermen could soon decide whether to only hire local residents to the city's police and fire departments, requiring that applicants must live in the forest city for 6 months prior to employment.

"We need to look at that whole thing in light of city employees be it police, fire, public works or whatever it might be. Many people, many alderman including myself, feel like they ought to be living in the city”, says Alderman Frank Beach

Alderman Ventia Hervey suggested the new ordinance saying she would like to see first responders live in Rockford, not from surrounding cities. But one issue remains in the proposal.

Beach says, "After that six months, that person could still go live outside the city, so we need to deal with that problem first."

Alderman Robertson says he would support an ordinance that would keep employees living in the city after they are hired. He says local residents already have an advantage in the hiring process.

Robertson says, "The current fire and police commission have that in their rules. They can give kids who are applying additional points because they are residents of the city."

Alderman Hervey plans on introducing another requirement past the hiring phase which could keep employees living within the city as long as they work for the fire or police department.

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  • by what?? on Oct 25, 2011 at 11:37 AM
    Of course the mayor doesnt live in Rockford it isnt safe enough for him.... Why does it matter?? I am a nurse and dont live in the same town where I work... So your saying its pretty much not a free country... Rockford needs help.. Starting with the mayor...
  • by Anonymous on Oct 25, 2011 at 08:39 AM
    I understand what you are saying Whistler but Chicago still has a residency of living in the city of I dont see your point.
  • by bill on Oct 24, 2011 at 05:30 AM
    Idiots! Maybe they should talk about important matters, like the budget trouble they are in. All that should be required is that an employee live within Winnebago County. Great candidates for employment do live outside the city.
  • by whistler on Oct 23, 2011 at 08:05 PM
    I have an idea. Want to set a great example? Pass an ordinance that requires all alderman AND his HIGHNESS the Mayor to live in the City FIRST! Ha!--Fat chance. there has never been a case where there was a need to have all officer and firefighters live within the City proper. N-E-V-E-R! Just another way of jacking with the police and fire unions! It serves no purpose other than to puff their chests and say, "We pay your wages so you have to live in the City". the unions in Chicago challenged this and won. It was appealed with the IL Supreme court buy that community and they LOST. The judges ruled that it did not matter where they lived as long as they could make it to work on time.
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