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Followup on Residency Rule’s defeat by City Council 10-2

The city council voted 10-2 to reject the residency requirement to be a police or fire candidate in the city of Rockford. Only Venita Hervey, D-5, and Ann Thompson-Kelly, D-7, voted in favor of the proposal. Linda McNeely, D-13, was obviously absent; if present she usually vote NO!

Getting the best candidate should be paramount in the selection process, not the best candidate that lives in Rockford as suggested by Ald. Venita Hervey, when she stated, “Many of Rockford’s police and fire job applicants come from outside the city, because that’s where the opportunities are for education, training and volunteer experience.” -Exactly – better qualified candidates!

She also said, “It puts Rockford residents at a further disadvantage because not everyone who would like to be a police officer or firefighter can afford to move or commute.”

Venita, not everyone who wants to be an engineer, doctor or lawyer can afford to do so either – or should we now award poverty points in this game to “level playing field.” None of these “level the playing field” points, residency, poverty or race have anything to do with the ability to be a policeman or fireman candidate, and therefore, should not be considered!

The real argument is about tax dollars lost to the city and the fact that the 50% of our residents who actually graduate from our high schools don’t qualify for community college without remedial help. I’ll take the outsiders – thank you.

I don’t even agree with Ald. Bill Roberson, I-14, who would support awarding points if a candidate is a city resident. Two tier points for some and not for others, above and beyond the quaifications to do the job, actually “unlevels” the playing field, unless the goal is to make less qualified candidates equal to more qualified candidates by giving them a boost up in the standings, simply based on residency, ethnicity, gender or race for diversity’s sake alone.

If both alderman, Hervey and Thompson, think that Rockford has more than enough people who are able and we need to level the playing field, then prove it by testing all the candidates – no extra points for anything that doesn’t have anything to do with the job – and lets see how Rockford’s candidates stand compared to those who test better – or should we also throw out the test results to “level the playing field?”

Once you start the level playing field concept, how far should it be taken. With everything else being equal, should the fact that your father or mother were born in Rockford or are residents be looked at next.

Parent’s residency has no more to do with the candidate’s abilities, than if the candidate is a resident, but once you start playing the “level the playing field” game, those in power can change the rules when they wish, until they get the results they want.

Choosing qualified candidate for public safety, should be a decision based on rules – test results and abilities – not “level the playing field” points! Residency is just one set of points to watch out for – there are more listed in this post.

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