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Residents Given First Chance at Police, Firefighting Jobs

Council approves ordinance 4-0.

An ordinance passed Tuesday grants Teaneck residents priority over other candidates who apply for jobs as township police officers and firefighters.

Although Teaneck already had a policy of giving preference to residents, the town code did not specifically include police hires. Under the ordinance, eligible county residents would be ranked second, followed by state residents and other candidates.

The state Civil Service Commission, which handles testing for applicants, would first exhaust its list of qualified residents before moving on to other candidates, according to the ordinance. Residency is defined as an applicant who lives in town from the date they apply to when they are hired.

“This is the maximum that we could do to give preference to residents of Teaneck,” said Township Attorney Stanley Turitz, noting state law governed civil service hiring. 

About 30 percent of officers in the police department live in town, while 60 percent were “Teaneck people” who had lived in town at some point, said Township Manager William Broughton.

The ordinance was passed 4-0, with council members Lizette Parker, Adam Gussen and Mark Schwartz absent.

Art Vatsky August 30, 2012 at 12:20 PM
I spoke in favor of this ordinance even though it is limited only to the time between application and appointment. I could understand that somewhat. If you live where you work, you might tend to feel you are always working. On the other hand, it would be good for our appointed officers to live close enough so they could respond to an emergency situation in Teaneck quickly. Can that be worked out?
Keith Kaplan August 30, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Art, my understanding is that officers (fire and police) go to their respective workplaces for shifts. Do they typically respond from their houses?
shimon baum August 30, 2012 at 07:46 PM
I'll take living by where I work over an hours long commute any day.
JeffO September 02, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I don't know how much a limited residency requirement like this actually helps genuine Teaneck residents, but it unquestionably invites fraud, as revealed in a recent deposition by the acting police chief of Hackensack: "[Padilla] also said that a now high-ranking officer, Capt. Thomas Salcedo, used Padilla’s home address to skirt a city residency requirement when he applied to the force 20 years ago. http://www.northjersey.com/news/Hackensacks_interim_chief_testifies_about_alleged_violations_of_police_regulations.html One other point: It may be, as our Township Attorney stated, that the state civil service code prevents Teaneck from doing more to require residency in its uniformed employees. But that shouldn't prevent our council from tightening up on our Township Manager, who serves at the pleasure of the council. Not only is he the only manager in my memory who hasn't lived in Teaneck, but he lives about 70 miles away (no wonder he likes the 4-day week) and gets an obscenely over-generous daily commuting benefit.
Art Vatsky September 02, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Well, it is good to know that "About 30%" of our officers live in Teaneck. They are therefore "invested" in Teaneck, like a small business owner. Teaneck is their home, school, friends, house of worship. Like others who have grown up in Teaneck, they have knowledge and relationships within town that other officers have to develop over time. Keith, you are right but in the case of an emergency - say an accident on the CSX rail lines - and off duty police/fire are needed, I think it is better for Teaneck that the officers be no more than, say, 15 minutes away. I think officers should have flexibility about where they live. Jeff O is right about our current Manager. He lives so far away, he is actually out of the NYC metro area and in the Philly Metro area instead. But he was the Council's choice for the other attributes he brings to the office. The fact that Teaneck taxpayers have to pay for his daily commute is expensive and not a good precedent. Teaneck should pay for his travels on the job but not for his commuting expenses. Where he lives is solely his choice and not our responsibility. Again, it is the Council that granted this perk.
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