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Enforce residency

Feb. 21, 2013 |

Is not agreeing with Chicopee's city charter reason enough for officials to ignore it? One charter area being ignored that is costing Chicopee taxpayers is the continued appointment of non-residents. Article VIII. General Provisions, Paragraph 49 of Chicopee's charter states: "No person shall be eligible to any of the offices of the city government except Superintendent of Schools, City Solicitor and City Engineer unless . a resident of the city at least two years." These appointments that are not exempted by state law and/or collective bargaining cost the city on a number of fronts. Non-residents pay no property taxes to the city. Some receive "special" fringe benefits. And upon retirement, the city continues to contribute retirement benefits. Holyoke and Springfield are working towards enforcing residency requirements. But not Chicopee, a.k.a "Little Chicago," a city with a rich history of patronage, cronyism, and nepotism. Apparently, in Chicopee, the appointing and hiring authority can ignore the charter if it serves personal needs even when it is fiscally irresponsible to do so. Perhaps changing some elected officials should be more important to taxpayers than changing the charter this local election year. Jim Raschilla Chicopee

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