Memo: Most City Workers Live Out Of Town

As City Hall prepares for a union budget fight, it released numbers that may add fuel to the fire: Nearly 80 percent of New Haven police and teachers union members live outside the city. For firefighters and school administrators, the figure is around 70 percent.

In an “Interoffice Memo” recently distributed to aldermen, administration staffer Elizabeth Benton presented a spreadsheet with a breakdown of union residency. The document lists 14 city unions and details what percentage of their members live in New Haven. Click here to see the full breakdown.

The numbers show that most union members live outside the city. City spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said the document was prepared in response to a direct request from aldermen.

The document comes at a tense time in city-union relations. Faced with a projected $82.7 million long-term budget gap and intense pressure to avoid tax hikes, Mayor John DeStefano has been pushing for the privatization of cafeteria services and is also looking for health care and pension cutbacks in new labor contracts. Hundreds of union workers stormed city hall last month to protest such cuts. Click the play arrow above to watch footage from that event.

Asked about the memo’s data, one alderman said the numbers provide another argument for checking the power of unions. Union officials called the numbers an irrelevant distraction.

The spreadsheets shows that a majority of union members—63.48 percent—drive home to the suburbs every night. The police union, with a rate of 78.6 percent out-of-town, has the highest rate. It’s closely followed by the teachers union, with 77.24 percent living out of town.

Cafeteria workers have the lowest percentage of out-of-town residents, with 30.22 percent residing out of New Haven. Second lowest are daycare workers at 35.14 percent.

West Rock Alderman Darnell Goldson has been working on discouraging workers from living out of town. He has proposed implementing fees and benefits to encourage city workers to move to New Haven. As part of that effort, Goldson compiled figures similar to the administration’s spreadsheet.

Goldson said Tuesday that the numbers might convince aldermen in upcoming budget deliberations to conclude, “These are not our constituents. ... We represent the taxpayers of New Haven.”

Goldson said the unions should not be able to drive the budget discussion, especially if their members live out of town.

“I support unions,” he said. “But I don’t think anyone should have a job for life.”

He pointed to the rehiring of rookie cop Jason Bandy as evidence that unions are too powerful. Bandy was fired after allegedly calling in sick, getting drunk, urinating on the floor of a bar bathroom, refusing to leave, getting arrested, then getting re-arrested in East haven when his mother said he had threatened to kill himself. The police union worked out a deal with the city, allowing Bandy to return to the force on Jan. 1, 2011. It’s a testament to outsized union power that Bandy could be re-hired after such egregious misconduct, Goldson said. 

Hill Alderman Jorge Perez was more circumspect in his interpretation of the spreadsheet.

“There’s nothing to interpret,” he said. “There’s no residency requirement. It’s not a crime to not live in New Haven.”

Perez called it inappropriate to say anything more while the city is in the middle of negotiations with unions. The executive branch is responsible for negotiations, he said. The Board of Aldermen just votes up or down on whatever deal is struck.

Five of the unions listed on the spreadsheet belong to AFSCME Council 4. That union’s spokesman, Larry Dorman, shared his thoughts on the matter during a Tuesday conference call. He was joined on the line by Cherlyn Poindexter (at left in photo), the head of AFSCME Local 3144, which represents nearly 500 city management workers.

Dorman and Poindexter said the residency data is a distraction from the real issue, which is the question of what is the best way to provide city services.

“Why has the mayor embarked on a campaign to diminish services?” Dorman said. “Absent laws on residency, people have a right to live where they do.”

Besides, Dorman said, more than half of AFSCME Council 4 members live in New Haven. The in-town rate for Locals 884 and 3144, custodians, day care workers, and school paraprofessionals is 52 percent.

Even if workers don’t live in town, they are purchase goods and services in New Haven, Dorman said. “We are very committed to this city.”

Poindexter said the city is “attacking” unions at every turn. “Now they’re attacking where people live.”

Poindexter said she lives in Hamden. She lived in New Haven for 30 of her 44 years, she said. “I’m in New Haven 90 percent of the time. I know nothing about Hamden.  I know everything about New Haven.”

Poindexter and Dorman predicted the residency question won’t influence aldermanic budget-voters.  “They would agree that what’s important is how we provide services,” Dorman said.

“We make every attempt to work with the city on cost-saving ideas,” Poindexter said. She said unions are willing to work on ideas like a implementing a hiring freeze. That’s the kind of thing aldermen should be looking into, she said.

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posted by: FIX THE SCHOOLS on November 17, 2010  9:22am

Do you need to know anything else to conclude that AFT is a plague on New Haven children?

Just what we suspected.  The vast majority of unionized teachers who make their livings off of city taxpayers would themselves never send their own children to New Haven schools. 

Putting the issue of residency aside, the fact that the AFT union leaders aggressively fights EVERY state legislative proposal which would allow more low income minority kids who live in New Haven to attend high performing charter schools, life-changing schools, is a disgrace. 

Mr. Mayor, Alders, New Haven parents, and voters - wake up!  Every single year that you delay progress through this gradual, protracted, “collaboration” with the AFT means another year that taxpayers and school children carry the water.

posted by: SenorityRules on November 17, 2010  9:32am

OK, interesting statistics. But like Perez, I too must think that any cut back will still impact New Haven residents. Why? Seniority rules.

The more years of service, the more money, the more likelihood that the union employee has the resources to live outside the city.

So, those whose salaries would most impact the bottom line of the budget, would also be some of the last union members to be laid off because of seniority rules.

posted by: robn on November 17, 2010  9:49am

These figures confirm one important thing.

Not enough city employees live in town and stimulate our local economy with property taxes.

Rather than denigrate the 1631 fine people who do live in New Haven, or denigrate the other 2835 fine people who live elsewhere we need to incentivize live/work in the city, offering New haven employees more than outsiders.

I believe the thrust of City Halls point is correct, that 1631 residents shouldn’t be allowed to dominate the budget discussion for a city of 125,000.

posted by: CITYSAVIOR on November 17, 2010  9:49am

What a joke this Mayor is. When he needed union support to get elected none of this was a issue. Now that HE mismanaged the city now its every one else fault. MAN UP JOHNNY D!!! This is years of mismanagement on your part. Lets go with your system, the city will only hire new haven residents for city jobs and by pass very good candidates just to make a political point. It’s illegal to establish a residency clause and see how good that works for the tax assessor !! BIG SMOKE SCREEN FOLKS!! Goldson said I support unions,”  “But I don’t think anyone should have a job for life.” Hello what about the Mayor?? If a employee is very good why would you want to get ride of them?? That’s why CAA-NH was a mess when he ran it. Give me a break

posted by: jack d on November 17, 2010  10:05am

Is this anything new to readers? I cannot blame people for wanting to live in towns that offer less crime, lower taxes, and better lifestyles. I don’t believe the unions are totally at fault, the people who negotiate for the city should share in the blame. I mean who authorizes a cop like Bandy to get his job back after he commits such an egregious act. The mayor and his team need to look at less spending and cutting some programs while also asking the unions to negotiate in good faith as we all have to sacrifice given the current economic downturn. Put a hiring freeze into effect, while also asking each dept head to cut a % from their budget.

posted by: JB on November 17, 2010  10:43am

What percentage of city hall employees live in New Haven?  Don’t leave those numbers out.

posted by: Darnell on November 17, 2010  10:47am

jack d:

What I meant by “for life” were those folks who are not good employees. That is why I used the example of Bandy. He is of the extreme, of course, but there are many many examples of employees who are terrible at their jobs but can not be fired. So, we let them sit around and hire someone else to do the job, which destroys moral and productivity.

I won’t even comment on the CAA stuff, since a court spoke for me.

posted by: JonnyRockets on November 17, 2010  10:52am

Shouldn’t everyone be concerned about the best candidate for the job? Since when does where people live matter?

Start looking at where the real problem is and think of unique ways to generate money within the city. Stop giving everything away for free to the citizens and start making people pay for services and items, then maybe people will appreciate it more. Fact is many could not afford a single family home in New Haven, if the supply is not there then people will go elsewhere. I would rather live with my parents then live in an apartment building with a bunch of inconsiderate neighbors- I had enough of that in college!

Don’t blame employees for living elsewhere, the issue is bigger than that. Don’t make a scapegoat of the unions all the time.

posted by: ignoranceisbliss on November 17, 2010  10:59am

What irony.  Is the Elaine Braffman pictured above fighting to protect union jobs the same Elaine Braffman who posted her opposition to monetization of the parking meters elsewhere on the NHI site?

Now how exactly are we supposed to pay to keep her members employed with pension and health care benefits that make private sector employees drool? 

Perhaps raise taxes since a majority of her membership doesn’t live her and won’t pay them.

posted by: anon on November 17, 2010  11:05am

Given the burden of property tax paid by our homeowners (and indirectly, by all renters) in New Haven—and only those in New Haven—claiming that residency is somehow not an issue is completely ridiculous.

Union salaries and benefits should be slashed across the board, in order to dramatically lower our mill rates. For those employees who do live in the city, generous incentive packages should be given to make up for the loss of salary.

Eliminate free parking at all city sites, except for residents. Give free bus passes instead.

Start a generous homebuyer program for city employees, like what Yale does. Give out free summer camp, vacation bonuses, holiday bonuses, and college tuition passes (beyond the NH Promise) for all employees & teachers who live here. 

The city will become more vibrant if employees actually live here—and at that point we can all afford to start paying out higher benefits again.

posted by: Thanks for the Numbers on November 17, 2010  11:28am

Thanks for posting the numbers, I have been very curious about the details! What bothers me most of all are the police numbers. “Serve and protect… until my shift ends and I get the hell out of here”? Last year as I walked to the Christopher Martin’s Christmas Toy Run, a fellow runner pulled over to ask one of NHPD’s young officers where she might park. He shrugged and said “I don’t know. It’s New Haven.That’s why I don’t live here.” Despite the troubling lack of knowledge of 1. available parking areas in the Wooster neighborhood where he was stationed and 2. the event’s open parking 4 blocks away, his attitude made me so angry that I’m still upset nearly a year later. I wish I’d stopped to find out his name - I absolutely would have reported it. Unacceptable attitude leads to worse. Let’s definitely work on incentives to live in New Haven!

posted by: Gener on November 17, 2010  11:37am

If you’re too good to live here, then don’t work here.
Since there are so many problems in New Haven, only people who care about improving the community (i.e. those who live here) should be hired from this point forward.

posted by: anon on November 17, 2010  11:39am

MEMO from Unions to City:

Raise taxes on yourselves, in order to fund us.

We don’t have to pay. Our leadership and most of our members don’t live here. So We don’t care if your monthly rental payments or taxes go up.

posted by: concernedwestvilleres on November 17, 2010  11:40am

This is disconderting.  A large number of people who work for the city refuse to live in the city.  Our kids’ teachers come in from the burbs with their ideas of how children should perform and project that onto the children.  Yes, lower-waged paraprofessionals live in the city as do cafeteria workers.  Those are low wage jobs and divvied out to citizens of New Haven.

Let’s go further- how many Yale employees (now New Haven’s largest employer)live in the city and what are their wage rates.  I’d be surprised if 25% live in the city and if 5% of the highest wage earners live in the city and send their kids to public schools.  What about New Alliance/First Niagra.  What about UI?  Most of these employees head out of the city once work is over spending money maybe on breakfast and lunch but not much else.  Same for city employees who live outside the district.  I would bet most leave the city once their shifts are up.

New Haven is a tale of two cities- Yale(surrounding areas) and the rest of the city.  Something has to give.  It should start with incentives for city employees to live in the city.  It should start with hiring preferences for city residents.  Improve the city and then the whole area will improve.

posted by: Jack D on November 17, 2010  11:54am

Darnell I agree with you in your quote about the employees. New Haven has way too many employees for life who just collect a pay check. My point about Bandy is that he does not deserve his job.The city could have let him fight it out in court but they bowed down to him. The unions have to fight for members but the city has to fight for what is best for the taxpayers and in this case they did not. We need to start holding people responsible for their actions and this includes both management and labor, it is a two way street.

posted by: Mark Oppenheimer on November 17, 2010  11:55am

Imagine how much safer our city would be if our police officers were all residents of the city. If 349 more of our hard-working, competent, and honest police force, whom I have had many fine interactions with over the years, were living on our blocks. Imagine if the police union expressed a commitment to encouraging the officers to live among the people they protect. Imagine if they offered to agree to a residency requirement, or a residency bonus, in exchange for keeping salaries and benefits high. That would make me smile, and it would be good for all of us.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 17, 2010  12:14pm

How about people who work in new york and pay there taxes there.Hey fix.How many charter school workers and teachers live in new haven. Did you check to see were the teachers and workers from domus live at?

posted by: junebugjune on November 17, 2010  12:16pm

“Do you need to know anything else to conclude that AFT is a plague on New Haven children?”
-Fix the schools

What is the correlation between the fact that most teachers live outside New Haven and the AFT??

What struck me about these stats is that it looks like most of the highest paying jobs and some of the individuals with the most influence are not from New Haven while clerks (local 884) are mostly from New Haven management positions (local 3144) are. If you can clearly explain how this fact somehow proves the AFT is a plague please do so, but as far as I can see, the issue at hand is much more deeply set and complex. New Haven residents are not getting some of the better jobs offered by the city or they’re moving out of town once they do.

posted by: Gary Doyens on November 17, 2010  12:19pm

We’ve all known these figures were bad for some time. Still, it is disconcerting to actually see the numbers, to see how those who work for us, really see us. We are good enough for employment and paychecks, for lifetime benefits and millions of dollars in guaranteed overtime, but they don’t want to be our neighbors. They don’t want to feel the pain of crippling taxes or poor performing schools.

This says as much about them, as it does about the city’s executive and political stewardship. It’s damn poor. What we need is wholesale reform not just in our schools but at City Hall. From work rules to how pensions are calculated to how little employees contribute to their own healthcare - it all needs intensive scrutiny and a lot of changes. We also need fewer employees in many departments, particularly those who do not have front line or critical duties. We have to get our fiscal house in order. The current path is unsustainable.

posted by: 4sure on November 17, 2010  12:20pm

There is no stipulation that city workers must reside in New Haven. This is something that the city may want to consider for future hires.  Let’s take a loolk at all future applicants   & see if it is feasible to hire only city residents.Are there enough qualified candidates? How many city residents want to be firefighters, police or teachers?  The mayor has to make New Haven appealing if you want employees to live here. Taxes are extremely high, schools are not performing up to state goals & crime is bad.

posted by: anon on November 17, 2010  12:52pm

Mark- the reason our city is not safe is precisely because none of those 350 officers live here, on our blocks. The rate is 20% for the union as a whole but if you just look at the most experienced crime prevention officers it is much lower.

posted by: Sunday on November 17, 2010  12:55pm

To Mark I agree with your statement 100%. I must say you can not blame the unions for these contracts. If the city is dumb enough to sign off on these unions deals then “why not accept the best deal you can get”. Nobody put a gun to these administrators head to make them sign off on it. It just goes to prove that they don’t have the taxpayers best interest at heart because it’s not their money and all they care about are their personal pay checks. Stop getting mad with the unions for being smarter than the city administrators. A Deal is a Deal”.

posted by: Orange St Resident on November 17, 2010  1:01pm

It would be nice if all city employees lived in the city, however, it will never happen.  20 years ago the police and fire departments had a residency requirement but it resulted in a shortage of new hires. 

Slashing pay will not yield any worth while results.  The police and fire departments are paid the same as surrounding towns but have twice as much work. The high yearly incomes are a result of overtime and extra duty work.  Paying overtime is cheaper than hiring because it reduces benefit and training costs.

Reducing the pension is the way to reduce costs but the mayor gave away the farm on this issue.  When the stock market was flying high the city would increase pension benefits in lieu of pay raises.  Now that the market has bottomed out and the city is on the hook for the difference the mayor is singing the blues.  All new hires should be given a different retirement package.  Reducing pension for current employees would cause a mass exodus from the departments and result in the city having to return millions of dollars in pension contributions made by these employees

posted by: CITYSAVIOR on November 17, 2010  1:37pm

How dare any of you question police officers who chase the ... criminals in the city 24/7 keeping you safe!! The officers are committed to this city and do fund raising drive for Christmas,thanksgiving and Halloween on their own time. My friends that are cops give back more than some of the aldermen and woman do. What a shame that their contract is coming up and how you have forgot the officers like Picagli,Fumanti and Aponte who lost their lives in the line of duty .You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

posted by: jschm on November 17, 2010  1:45pm

unions should exist for safety issues, fair hiring practices, and for unreasonable harrassment. They have to much power otherwise. Binding arbitration is a failure for the taxpayers because the unions generally get what they want. Unions have insulated their people from the uncertainty of the market and that is bad. Knowing you can get fired makes you work harder. All unions have gotten the taxpayer is a trend to mediocrity in government. Pensions need to be converted to contributory benefit plan. We have too many government employees and they are paid too much. That;s the real world of the private sector which has contracted in the last 3 years while government has expanded. Since the unions own the Democrats nothing will change.

posted by: FacChec on November 17, 2010  1:46pm

To: Tom MacMillan

Frankly, I do not understand the point of repeating this story which first occurred on or about Oct.4 2010.The interoffice memo appeared on Oct 12th.

Upon reading the story and viewing the video… confirms for me.. that there is no correlation between the Mayor’s ongoing union negotiations and the union residency inquiry.

In fact very little could be gleaned from the video due to union members acting like a mobsters.

What the unions need to do is negotiate in a sane and business like manner, then accept or reject the city,s offer.

No need for this type of display, it does not capture the sympathy of city taxpayers.

All told, this repeat story is capturing repeat comments from posters who commented on this in October.

What’s the point…??

posted by: KD on November 17, 2010  1:46pm

Don’t other cities have residency requirements for city employees?  Can anyone offer any examples?  How did they institute those rules, and do they typically apply to all levels?  Of NHPD’s current “executive board,” 0% live in New Haven (per the full breakdown linked to above).

posted by: jschm on November 17, 2010  1:48pm

ANd it might be smart for the towns to get rid of the pension calculation of using the total salary of the last several years as a basis. Racking up the overtime in those last years unfairly increase the pension. We already 15.9 billion in unfunded pension liabilities in the state. That’ll be the next Federal bailout.

posted by: Why Would I Move to NH on November 17, 2010  2:00pm

I am a New Haven Board of Education employee and I do not live in New Haven.  Here’s why:

1. Crime-22 homicides this year not to mention all of the robberies, vandalism, non-fatal shootings, arson…shall I continue with the crime list?  Why would I want to live in a city that cannot get the crime and gang activity under control?

2. Safe Living-1.) I am not currently interested in purchasing a home, but if I did it would not be in NH-see crime issues above, as well as the high mill rate. 2.) As an apartment dweller there are no safe, affordable, non-college kid infested apartments in NH.  I currently rent in Hamden at a reasonable rent, in a safe area, and where gunshots don’t awaken me at night.

3. Shopping-while I do shop in New Haven (botiques, Edge of the Woods, etc.) there are no grocery stores, and although the Co-op is coming to 360 State-I don’t feel that that is a replacement for a good grocery store.

4. Schools-Until NHPS gets it act together I would never send a child into the school system.

This is just a brief outline of why I, as a City Employee will not live in NH.  Fix these issues and maybe those of us who live outside the City may consider moving back.

posted by: Disgusted with All on November 17, 2010  2:06pm

People who live in the city get additional points on their scores when they take a civil service test to work for the city as an initiative to hire New Haven people. Guess what, they either don’t take the tests or can’t pass them, so don’t blame the people who do take the tests (and live outside the city)and get a job. I lived and worked in New Haven my whole life, I left because the dam taxes got so high supporting all the free programs the people have in New Haven. Free food, free rent, free free free. Then they fight when their kids get in trouble at school instead of supporting the teachers and workers, they back their kids for everything they do wrong. When I went to school in New Haven, my mom punished me after the school punished me. Not today, parents, guardians, etc will fight the system to defend their kids when they know they are wrong. No discipline, no respect, no morals, take take take, that’s all they want. I left New Haven because I got sick of it. I wish I could give up my job because I’m sick of what goes on these schools, etc. but I have no choice now, worked my whole life and all I will get is a partial pension. Social Security is cut for me (thanks to all those free programs you enjoy) So don’t blame everthing on the outside workforce, we are trying to keep your darling kids educated. Why don’t you New Haveners really take a good look at yourselves!!!!!!!!!!

posted by: anon on November 17, 2010  2:11pm

Employees won’t start living in the city limits overnight—it will take 10 or 20 years to shift—but the city needs to start implementing the policies that eventually will make that happen right now. 

We may have regional government and massive property tax reform by that time, that would make these points largely moot, but we can’t count on it.

Until things are reformed, the city needs to act to protect its taxpayers and residents—who currently pay an enormous percentage of their income on housing, primarily because of rising taxes. 

In addition to being an issue that does not impact union leadership (which all lives in the suburbs), this is an issue that largely does not impact our policy makers, because they all have salaries that are high enough to allow them to afford their homes and taxes.

posted by: Joan on November 17, 2010  2:25pm

New Haven city is not exactly affordable place to live, thanks to the city bosses.

posted by: JackNH on November 17, 2010  2:55pm

If 80% of the police live outside of New Haven, I’m even more nervous to be living here.  They must know something.

posted by: Exiled Italian Shill on November 17, 2010  3:17pm

Thanks to the big lobbying efforts of New Haven’s last Mayor when he was a state senator state law says that you cannot require union members to live in the town of which local government they are employed.

So not much any city or town can do to force them to live in the town for which they work.  You can offer incentives like a break on taxes for those that live in the city but I think that a pretty big was just offered called promise.  Not sure that i would support any local government employee getting a lower tax bill, extra pay or relocation bonus.  That promise program is good enough.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on November 17, 2010  3:23pm

Right now I am just trying to breath! Finally have the numbers and they are astounding. Anon I think you hit it on the head in all of your comments…the issue is with incentive is Hartford tried this and it did not work

And people who are posting that this does not effect this are DEAD WRONG!  That is why HUD has a teacher policemen buyer program…because the facts show that when teachers and officers live in citys they improve and become health and more vibrate! This is a national program! Not to mention that if this happened the grand list would grow! And this city would be more affordable and it would create more jobs IT WOULD be a win win! But nooooooo… we have pensions that may not be paid!! The private sector, state and surrounding town have already switched their healthcare because of the (unexpected increases) Remember when union contract where agreed to NO ONE expected the rising cost of healthcare to be this much!  and the tax payers (the real bosses) have to pay for their own massive increase and yours to???  Come on!! You know it was only a matter of time unless you live in a basement.  Old agreements are outdated to the times. It is not good but it is reality. 

I say reward the people who work and live in this city BRAVO to you!  And thank you for contributing to the tax bases..(not just a bag of chips) and taking the heat.

posted by: HELLOOOOO on November 17, 2010  3:52pm

Does anyone know that the city is trying to privatize the custodians with a company from out of state never mind out of new haven and they already pay AFB over a million to manage them and they are not a new haven company!!DO THEY PAY TAXES IN NEW HAVEN?

posted by: former employee on November 17, 2010  3:54pm

As a former employee I can tell you that most union employees are not making a hell of a lot of money working for the City.  I will be the first to admit that some are getting more than what is deserved but they are exclusively friends and relatives of the mayor, various connected cronies or union officials playing footsies with the mayor under the table.

On the subject of residency.  More than 50% of the city budget is derived from the State so city residents can’t claim they are carrying all the water. So we all our keeping the city afloat.

posted by: Darnell on November 17, 2010  4:02pm


You had the numbers back in February when I prepared and distributed them for the coming budget meetings. Just reminding you.

Are we friends again? :)

posted by: anon on November 17, 2010  4:05pm

Why Would I Move to New Haven:

Have you ever considered that the way to fix those things is to create incentives for more city employees (particularly police and teachers) to live within the city? 

It’s not that the city needs to create incentives, it’s that it just needs to balance out all of the incentives that the federal government currently provides to people living in the suburbs.

In other words, create a level playing field, and we’ll all be better off.  It should be in your interest, given that you are a city employee and your salaries and benefits are about to be massively cut.

“If 80% of the police live outside of New Haven, I’m even more nervous to be living here.  They must know something.”

This fact is more about the above incentives than about safety.  Many of New Haven’s neighborhoods have crime rates that are no higher than the state average - crime tends to be heavily concentrated within a handful of areas.  I agree with you that it is extremely disconcerting, however, since the lack of police in certain areas is a cause of higher crime rates (I would make a bet that of the small number of officers who do live within the city, most live within areas such as East Rock, Westville, and the East Shore).

This issue needs to be addressed, and addressed immediately.

posted by: Darnell on November 17, 2010  4:08pm

Exiled Italian Shill:

You got it all wrong. Former Mayor, then State Senator John Daniels fought valiantly AGAINST changing state law to eliminate residency rules, along with several of the other big city representatives. They were beat down and defeated by the suburbanite reps and unions who wanted to get their hands on the money. They didn’t want to have to hosts the jobs and community programs that hired those jobs, but they sure wanted the jobs, and they got them.

posted by: FIX THE SCHOOLS on November 17, 2010  4:16pm


The AFT fights like hell to keep high-performing charter schools from growing and serving more low income children.  They do this by lobbying state legislators to keep charter school funding unequal compared to district school funding.  They harass, spread mis-truths, and undermine charter schools at every turn. 

Instead of just negotiating their contract with the city of New Haven, why do they spend member dues on harmful, disgraceful, political bullying up at the state capitol to keep low income parents from having more high quality school choices for their children?

So the conclusion I draw from this residency study is that because most of the teacher union members don’t live in New Haven, pay taxes in new haven, or send their children to our schools - they fundamentally don’t give a crap about the quality of the schools.  If they did, they wouldn’t try to keep out high quality options for New Haven students.

This residency information says it all.  And if you don’t believe me just read “WHY WOULD I LIVE IN NEW HAVEN” post above.  Here we have a BOE employee who would never send his/her child to the district where he/she works - a district from which poor minority children have no escape largely due to the power of teacher unions.

posted by: Life Long New Havener on November 17, 2010  4:48pm

Why Would I Move to New Haven:

Let me get this straight, New Haven is a good enough city for you to work but you wouldn’t send your child to school here??? Please, then by all means, go teach in Hamden and have a nice day!

We are asking police officers to live in New Haven although the current chief and former chief live(d) out of state. Oh they may have a New Haven address but let’s not be naive. The new chief has ruined the moral of the department and we will be lucky to keep the officers we have.

posted by: Noelle on November 17, 2010  5:04pm

I am a New Haven teacher who lives in New Haven, and expect my son to attend New Haven schools. 

That said, I know that some teachers choose to live outside of their districts, regardless of where they teach, because they want to have their home life be separate from their work life.  I respect this desire, although I don’t share it.  As one who teaches where she live, I enjoy getting called out frequently by students and parents I see around town.  However, I can understand why a teacher might want to just be “Bob” in his home town, rather than “Mr. Smith.”

Given this, I believe that it would be unfair to penalize those who live outside of New Haven.

posted by: Fairhaven Dave on November 17, 2010  5:08pm

If our downtown did not have major universities flooding local business with students and paying to keep things civil (while slowly absorbing EVERYTHING) our city would become a ghost town between business hours, like Hartford. 

These are practically CT traditions at this point… 

1 - If you can afford to live in the ‘burb-towns, you do it. 

2 - The place to find work is in the cities.

posted by: V on November 17, 2010  5:14pm

New Haven is not affordable.  Taxes are through the roof, and when you add in private school tuition for each child, K-12, it’s a losing proposition.

posted by: c on November 17, 2010  5:16pm

Listen,unless you increase the actual amount of real property, you cannot increase the amount of money flowing into the system based on property taxes.

So if you force employees to move back into the city, you will not increase the city’s tax base because they will only buy property that’s already paying taxes. Plus payroll taxes don’t go to the city, they go to state. So at best you get vehicle taxes. That’s without mentioning the folks who will rent, they won’t pay any property tax period, and now they become constituents; and pissed off ones for making them move.

Plus be realistic, not everyone who pays property taxes in New Haven actually lives and works in New Haven. If you set the pattern here, what about the other towns that could follow, possibly effecting our economy even further.

This is just a ruse to detract attention from other real budgetary issues.

posted by: Bill Heinrichs, Esq. on November 17, 2010  5:25pm

New Haven’s municipal and public school employees’ choosing to reside in surrounding towns is at least partly attributable to Connecticut’s laws which make suburban residency more affordable than city residency. Automobile insurance rates are determined based upon ones domicile. A regressive and archaic system of property taxation make urban residency a very expensive proposition. One remedy to level the playing field for our cities would be to pass a commuter tax law, empowering all municipalities to impose a city or town income tax on all nonresident employees in all sectors of the workforce.  The Connecticut General Assembly must help New Haven and our other cities by addressing these inequities.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on November 17, 2010  5:38pm

If a vast majority of the wealth generated and money spent within the city stayed here and circulated locally between locally owned stores that employed local residents and sold locally produced goods made in locally owned businesses that employed local residents who spent their pay checks on city taxes and in local stores, then we wouldn’t have budget issues. There would be plenty of money to go around to use to lower taxes AND upgrade infrastructure, fund civic improvement projects and maintain public facilities.
When 63% of city employees live outside the city, when 57 cents of every dollar spent in a chain store is sucked out of the local economy, when originally federally subsidized projects now have to be dealt with locally and make up an enormous amount of real estate in the city, when a tax exempt institution owns as much land as Yale does and pays no taxes on non-educational facilities (dorms, cafeterias, teacher’s offices, etc), and when the means of production have moved from neighborhood centers to other countries that is when drastic measures must be taken regardless of the general public’s opinion.

posted by: City Employee on November 17, 2010  5:47pm

Please do not allow the mayor to blind you with yet another ploy to make himself guiltless for whats happened to this city. I work for and live in this City. (I also pay an exorbitant amount of money in real estate and car taxes).
The union contracts have been changing for years. No longer are most employees allowed to accumulate 150 sick days to sell them at retirement. I would venture to say that it’s been at least 10 years since in my particular contract we are given 7 sick days a year, and they are use or lose, which is in line with the private sector. Not all City employees are afforded a pension either. Many of us have to plan for our own retirement, and unlike the private sector, there is no matching component. Not complaining, just stating the facts. I came from the private sector because this is what I really wanted to do, not because of the “cushy” benefits offered. We also pay weekly for health care and again, very much in line with the private sector. As a reminder, we gave back raises, endured lay-offs, do more with less, etc. and still continue to attempt to bring salient ideas on how to save money with out hurting services. But there are clearly some sacred cows in City Hall and elsewhere that just can not be considered for cuts.
I see no need for every city employee to live in the city, they come in everyday and spend their money just like every other employee that comes to work here within the private sector. It makes no sense to me.
It is insulting that this is the best the mayor can come up with. Union contracts don’t scare me, the inordinate amount of waste that goes on on the 3rd floor is what is truly frightening..

posted by: Truth Avenger on November 17, 2010  7:19pm

To: Why I would move to NH:
Until you fix your attitude, New Haven doesn’t need you.  Stay where you are. Thank you very much.

posted by: curious on November 17, 2010  7:30pm

Isn’t it nice to know that in the middle -of a severe budget crisis, threatened layoffs and a supposed “hiring freeze” Elizabeth Benton was hired by the City at a salary of 53,000 to do what?  A BS project that any high school intern could have done?  A complete waste of time and money. This is another insult to the taxpayers. Things will never change in this City until we change this administration. The Mayor just doesn’t get it.He steadfastly refuses to stop spending our money and focuses all of his energy on ways to get more of it.November, 2011 can’t come soon enough!

posted by: David on November 17, 2010  8:02pm

Those nanny state proponents who want to dictate where city employees can live are more insidious than those who want to save us from soda.  In a just and ostensibly attainable system, the public sector should be deregulated so it is as invigoratingly precarious and bankrupt as the private sector.

posted by: robn on November 17, 2010  8:29pm

However, the thrust of the mayors point is correct, that 1631 residents shouldn’t be allowed to dominate the budget discussion for a city of 125,000.

posted by: Elaine Braffman on November 17, 2010  9:25pm

Dear Ignoranceisbliss, I would first like to thank you for putting my name out there! You never know when one might decide to run for office and name recognition is important.
Ofcourse I will show my support for Alderman Elicker and the 17 other alderpeople who signed onto his resolution. I will always show my support for elected officials when they are doing the right thing.
I also suspect that you work for this administration, but please know that you really will not stifle/silence me just because I am an employee and involved in my union and with hard working families. Oh and by the way, not all of my colleagues that I work with (hand in hand) to make this place a better city to live in are residents of New Haven. That does not make them less dedicated or less of an employee. In fact, we as a team are so very committed to this city and care about the residents and their quality of life. I live here, own a home, pay taxes and I am not in a pension plan. However, I do not resent anyone who does not live here and is in the pension plan. Most are hard working and take their job very seriously. Why don’t you complain about mayoral staff, high paid employees appointed by the mayor who do not live in this city? His staff has grown quite large over the years. So Mr or Mrs Anonymous, I bet you are a hand picked city employee within the administration’s grace and I would like to see> “whats in your wallet”?

posted by: anon on November 17, 2010  9:33pm

City Employee,

How much of the city’s budget is spent “on the 3rd floor,” versus on the city’s other 2,000+ employees.  Come on now. 

Whining isn’t going to solve the yawning budget gap and the fact that city residents, homeowners and renters, can no longer afford housing cost increases.

posted by: Blue Dress Democrat on November 17, 2010  10:14pm

Wow. The Mayor is playing dirty. 78% of cops, 77% of teachers, 71% of school administrators and 70% of firefighters live in the suburbs. The people that make the city work. You’ll be first on the lay off lists. Great way to divide unions. I think Johnny Boy is being even smarter. If he provokes 2 or 3 weeks of blue flu the resulting chaos will have Doyens and his other cheap enemys begging to pay more taxes. What a genius.

posted by: Non-Resident Employee on November 17, 2010  10:19pm

Two quick points:

1.  City Residents are already given preferential treatment on Civil Service Exams (5 or 10 free points).  If they still can’t reach the top of the pile, then the fault is not where they live.

2.  NH Independent, I am really disappointed in your slanted reporting on this topic.  What is the point of repeating the video of the Union March on City Hall?  How does that relate with residency?  and how does residency reflect on job performance?

Just the other day I encountered your plea for funding…I was planning on making a generous contribution, now I am thinking that you should look toward DeStefano for your funding.

posted by: New Havener on November 18, 2010  12:25am

What’s the problem ..... We’re like Assessor Bill O’brien- we have homes here and there.  We register our cars here and there. The Mayor supports Mr O’brien residency and now he’s bashing the workers.  As a city residence - what’s here.  No shopping malls, clothing stores in the downtown area are either too cheap in workmenship or too expensive to buy.  No supermarkets.  The little corner stores too expensive to shop. A loaf of white bread $3.89!!!  The corner stores are only good for purchasing loose cigarettes.  we are almost forced to go outside the city - so what’s the problem.  I’m going to be like Bill

posted by: Charlie O'Keefe on November 18, 2010  1:09am

These statistics are troublesome. They indicate the middle class that makes any city function have already departed. All the professionals have already given a resounding vote of no confidence to DeStefano. Even President Obama avoided him by campaigning in Bridgeport. New Haven has become the Detroit of the north east before we have realized it. Next week we will be competing with Naples as the most F….Up city in the World, the week after Calcutta, and the week after that Port Au Prince.

posted by: Dick on November 18, 2010  1:27am

Lower income workers are more likely to rent and not have to deal with New Haven’s sky high property taxes.

Higher income workers are more likely to own and have a mortgage on top of taxes and rather can’t afford both or they’re smart enough to move where it’s cheaper.

There’s no incentive to live in New Haven.  It’s a close drive away from cheaper towns with lower crime rates.

posted by: Ellis Copeland on November 18, 2010  4:22am

And we wonder why we get sloppy service

posted by: Truth Avenger on November 18, 2010  6:12am

To Okeefe .... Many of us choose to live here because we have something you suburbanites can only see in dog- eared black and white photographs bearing faded memories of what it means to live in a community.
Yes, New Haven is imperfect-it has big city problems, but it also has side walks, porches that people actually use, amazing architecture that embodies the history of generations,fabulous restaurants, theaters, world-class museums, a damn T.V. Station, educational institutions, hospitals (where many of you go when you get sick).  New Haven has a populace that is engaged, it has diversity, it has neighborhoods-meaning neighbors that actually know and care about one another, and it has promise- the potential to become better. ....  The middle class is still here, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

posted by: City Union member on November 18, 2010  8:04am

Jorge Perez said “There’s no residency requirement. It’s not a crime to not live in New Haven.”

Jorge no it’s not a crime but looking at what Aldermen Goldson presented you should be all on board with it because the people that live in New Haven are the one’s who voted for you.

We pay the taxes and the out of towners go home with fat pockets from our ciy.

If the board of aldermen don’t do anything about it then the people of New Haven will have to vote you all out ...

posted by: City Resident on November 18, 2010  8:22am

As a city resident I refuse to talk about this subject because we are being cheated out of jobs.  Our children can not get on the fire or the police department so im asking every resident in this city not to vote for there aldermen if they allow these non residents to continue to take our funds to their towns and we are left paying hirer taxes.  They talk about crime, then tell all of your drug using friends from your towns to stay home and find a buyer on there own streets and then it will stop the drug trafficking.  If you hire police from this town we will have safer streets because the police won’t be scared to get out of their cars.



posted by: An EastRocker on November 18, 2010  8:45am

just curious, how many or which cities, nearby at least, do have residency requirments for city employees?  I know NYC hasn’t had that one for decades…

posted by: anon on November 18, 2010  9:34am

“Blue Flu”

Yes you are right, because none of the cops live here, they can easily hold the city “hostage” when a crisis hits.  This might happen more often than you think.

Yet another reason why major reform is needed.

If the city is unaffordable, then police salaries, incentives and benefits (for those living within the city only) should be significantly higher.  Doing this is a good example of a potential “win-win” - since higher salaries in New Haven would allow the police to negotiate raises in all the other towns around Connecticut.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on November 18, 2010  10:37am

One added suggestion….across the city…in ALL dept’s you hear the complaints that they have people that do not work, abuse comp, abuse sick days which results in an over staffed city…because unions protect these people. There has to be a way of rewording contacts so that depts and the city can unload the freeloaders….so we can get our moneys worth out of the staff…I also feel it is important to have a web page that shows how many people are out sick, on comp, paid leave and unpaid leave. Weekly! and by dept! Are can we create a report based on the past year. Just to see the numbers?

Still think the mayor need to cut from the top and unload top heavy BOE general fund people!

Do the right thing mayor.

Also I am with those who state time to get rid of alders that are not being true to the residents..WE ARE SICK OF BEING WALLETS!!

If you compare us to other citys that are closeing schools down ect….we have been being great to the city staffers….off our backs and heart aches! It is time to give US a break!!! Don’t like it I can find 100’s of New Haven residents that will take your job~!

posted by: ignoranceisbliss on November 18, 2010  12:56pm

Dear Ms. Braffman,

No I don’t work for the administration.  But I am tired of people like you wanting it both ways.  You can’t oppose a realistic option for raising money like monetization out of hand and then expect that the City won’t have layoffs of your union members or privatization of custodians. Something has got to give. Personally I will take the layoffs and privatization.  How about you?  What exactly is your solution for closing a $5-10 million current budget gap?

posted by: Cedarhillresident on November 18, 2010  1:43pm

I am confused?  First I thought the IBB WHO WE PAID was suppose to fill that gap….I want a refund…second 5 mill…and in the end we will lose around 100 mill after the 25 yrs…and you think it is a good idea? Can someone repost the totals on the loses this QUICK FIX is going to really cost the city.

In fact with the ideas that can be implemented we can double that? why to fill a 5 mill hole would we take such a lose?? To save a few peoples faces?

posted by: Sally on November 18, 2010  2:10pm

IGNORANCEISBLISS                         For you to make a statement like that tells me you do work downtown. Will blame everything on the custodians 911, terror attacks, devaluing the dollar and now the up coming food shortage. The problem is the mayor, he ran the city into the ground, so now here we are, lets go after the custodians because their making so much money ha ha. Will put a fictitious number on how much money will save by privatizing the custodians, try it

posted by: Stephen on November 18, 2010  2:30pm

Residency requirements used to be common, but they’ve mostly gone away. Partly because City workers didn’t want to live in Cities, partly because workers in affluent suburbs couldn’t afford it any more.

But there’s something to be said for the idea of encouraging municipal employees to live in town. How about incentives? Those who do live here get better deals than the others under a new contract. I think of the Yale homebuyer’s program as an example.

posted by: Ben Berkowitz on November 18, 2010  2:59pm

Thanks for sharing this NHI.
We should work immediately to make salary cuts to union employees living outside New Haven and proportionately increase that of employees within the city.

Start with the police!

posted by: Vinny G on November 18, 2010  3:21pm

Hopefully everyone reading and commenting on this article remember this when they vote next year for Mayor of New Haven or alderman.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on November 18, 2010  3:53pm

Landlords are property owners and they pay property taxes. Landlords collect rent to pay for property taxes, building maintenance, other investments and to add to their personal income. Saying that renters pay property taxes is perhaps not semantically right, but to suggest that they do not contribute to sharing the burden of property taxes is ridiculous; it’s like saying that renters with a combined rent and utilities don’t pay for the electricity for their refrigerators.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on November 18, 2010  4:26pm

A major issue, which has been a common theme in American settlement patterns, is our desire to keep archaic municipal lines that no longer make any sense because of population and development growth or never did make sense because of geologic and topographic features. The western US is the perfect example of random boundaries that were drawn on maps and not determined based on actual conditions of the land. The same issues apply to the boundaries of older settlements, even New Haven County.
Does the straight border between East Haven and New Haven have any relationship to natural systems of wetlands, streams, and plains, or is it just a haphazard line drawn for reasons that are inconsequential now? Does the straight border between Hamden and New Haven have any relationship to development patterns and population or is it just left over from a time before the Farmington Canal, rail line then trolleys pushed development northward above the 9 squares? Fair Haven was a separate oystering village organized around the Quinnipiac River until it was incorporated into New Haven in the 19th century when industrial development jumped the Mill River and connected Fair Haven to New Haven with a continuous network of streets and communities. Westville was originally a separate argicultural and industrial village organized around Blake and Main Street (now called Whalley) until it was incorporated into the city in the early 20th century when electrified trolley lines along Edgewood, Alden and Fountain turned the farmland into suburban subdivision housing for people who mostly worked downtown because the little village center and factories weren’t a large enough job center for the new population.
A suburb can only justify being a separate municipality if it can be a self-sustaining community that has a job base, retail sector and service-providing government that can provide for its population. New Haven can no longer do this because the city provides jobs, shopping, services and recreational space for the entire region, while the region only shares a small portion of the cost through inadequately funded state aid, while city residents simultaneously subsidize roads, parking and services for suburban populations.
Ideally, some municipal boundaries will be modified or some system of sharing costs will be created that doesn’t change historic town lines, and hopefully many old town centers like Guilford, Branford, Hamden, and Shelton will develop into places that support their populations adequately without depending unfairly on New Haven so that they are not forced into becoming incorporated into the city, and hopefully some of the farmland can be reclaimed from large acre subdivision plots by using the foreclosure crisis as an opportunity to deconstruct homes and use the material for urban infill to return some areas of places like Orange into local agricultural space.
The point is also not to say that each town must have jobs for every resident and every resident must work where they live, but rather for there to be a balance.
We also must stop building in suburban development patterns, we already have way more than we can sustain and much of it will have to be retrofitted in order to become part of a city, town, village, or countryside.

posted by: cityhallwatcher on November 18, 2010  6:50pm

Sure ingnoranceisbliss lets give all our revenues to an out of state company and in the end owe them money. Just like when this mayor came up with the Breen deal. The city ended up buying back properties that cost us money. The city also had to intervene at times to protect the elderly from foreclosures.
I think Elaine Braffman could probably start working on this deficit by just using her common sense. She has already called for the city to stop hiring, now there’s a start! And also it seems that her once being an alderman (and a damn good one, she was mine), and being an employee, and being involved in a union and actually living here and being a tax payer herself, she certainly could bring alot to the table in a hearty negotiation with this mayor and his high paid administrators. I do not believe Braffman said anything out of line. Why are you so bitter? I think you certainly are walking and working among the city hall crowd,no? Yes, I definitely would say so.

posted by: Me Me Me Me Me on November 18, 2010  9:05pm

DeStefano has talked about regionalization for years. Trying to get the suburbs to help pay for New Haven. Look at this. He doesn’t give two hoots about the suburbs. He wants our residents to move in to town to help him pay off all the debts he has built up over the years on his welfare state. He wants to damage our tax base. Well, if you live on the Shoreline or in West Haven, Orange, North Haven, Hamden, Bethany and other surrounding communities make sure your State Reps do not, and I repeat DO NOT support any bills giving New Haven anything. DeStefano will bankrupt us too.

posted by: cecilia proto on November 19, 2010  12:09am

Since the day I started to go to the very first management team meetings , my biggest gripe was most of city workers don,t live here.  When you have police and firemen say to you,“Our you crazy to live here, run.” ThThat’sretty sad, take the pay check from our taxes and then tell us they would never live here, its to crazy.  So why would they give a dam about our city with a attitude like that.  Answer,THEY DON,T.  The city should have never allowed this to happen.                                            ’”

posted by: Cedarhillresident on November 19, 2010  8:02am


Ya New Havener’s are not Johnny lovers and we know were fault is due. But why…yes his glorified salute to himself with schools. BUT one of the big issues is City staffing ALL the FLUFF on the top paid jobs we don’t need, and all the contracts that were NOT realistic, out of date with today economy, and did not protect the RESIDENTS of this city…YOU BENEFITED FROM THAT BIG time. He handed the piggy bank over not giving a hoot about the 130,000 residents and Business’s owners of this city! (which at the time was do-able but is not anymore) And now we are losing them. We have to pull the reins in and get it under control and back to were it should really be.

Someone gave me a great example of this…

We the residents buy (or rent) are the investors of this city. Mayor and staff are the board to protect that investment…to make us money or at the least protect our investment..well the company (New Haven) is bottoming out! The investor are losing money and putting money into a sinking ship.

New Haven Taxpayers investment chart

So like with any Board of Investors they need to find a way to cut costs and make it possible for the INVESTORS to at least break even (taxes have tripled in the past 4 year and are going to go up even more, but how much is the question right now). And sadly like with any company…it comes down to health care, pensions, pay, employee level, efficiency, ect.

This is how it goes. You do not have to move here…you just have to understand that the more people that live here the safer your job is! Because the residents have no more money to take!

You see how you are defending the suburbs…how is it any different for us to defend were we live??

posted by: Jinny jones on November 19, 2010  2:28pm

I Will never in this life live in new haven!!!!  All new haven citizens who have an unrealistic belief that nonresidents employed by the city should take a pay cut-stay out of my suburb.  Spend your minimum wage salary in new haven.  Oh don’t dial 911 when you r need of help. This entire subject is a joke!!!!

posted by: Mike on November 20, 2010  10:52am

It’s true regarding the New Haven Police Offices.  If you talk to these new officers they will tell you with no shame that they will not live in New Haven they rather quit. The mayor when hiring should have it, if you are excepted you must within a year be a resident. These new officers are renters they don’t even own a home yet, so it’s not like they have to sell. And these unions need to disappear, they are the ones that are destroying the CITY…...

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 21, 2010  3:51pm

posted by: Mike on November 20, 2010 9:52am
It’s true regarding the New Haven Police Offices.  If you talk to these new officers they will tell you with no shame that they will not live in New Haven they rather quit. The mayor when hiring should have it, if you are excepted you must within a year be a resident. These new officers are renters they don’t even own a home yet, so it’s not like they have to sell. And these unions need to disappear, they are the ones that are destroying the CITY…...

This is what is destroying the city and these are not union jobs.

posted by: Perhaps on November 22, 2010  7:39pm

Perhaps it has something to do with being ranked #18 in most dangerous cities in the U.S.  Cleanup the city and the people will come back

posted by: Cedarhillresident on November 23, 2010  11:23am

Perhaps the Police can make that happen. They get enough OT.