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Pittsfield Police Suspending Residency Preference For Hiring
Staff Reports,
05:17PM / Friday, February 03, 2017
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Police Department is suspending its residency preference for the next Civil Service exam to boost its list of eligible candidates.
 
The department has been ramping up its hiring of new officers after the City Council authorized a $1 million boost in funding in the budget. Last month, the department put another 10 officers on the roads and had seven in the pipeline. But even more hiring is taking place.
 
The ramp-up in hiring led the department to exhaust the local list of candidates, which preferenced those who live in the city of Pittsfield. That list was completely depleted so in the next exam, the department is opening it up to the entire state.
 
"Historically, when requesting a list of eligible candidates from Civil Service, the Pittsfield Police Department requests that 'residency preference' be enacted. This common request has essentially moved every resident of the City of Pittsfield, who passed the exam, ahead of all non-residents, regardless of score," Lt. Gary Traversa said in a statement announcing the change.
 
"With the city's request to suspend the residency preference in establishing the list of eligible candidates from the upcoming March 2017 test, residents of communities outside of Pittsfield, but within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, are on 'equal footing' with residents of the City of Pittsfield," he wrote. "This is most notable for residents of towns and counties that surround Pittsfield, as candidates from these communities will have an increased opportunity to be competitive for the upcoming exam, compared to past exams where residency preference was a significant consideration in the establishment of eligible lists."
 
According to the mayor's office, which is the hiring authority, the city only needs to give Civil Service a notification of the suspension and Mayor Linda Tyer will consider lifting the residency requirement each time a test comes up — so the change for this list doesn't permanently remove the preference. 
 
The next exam is scheduled to take place on March 25 with the application deadline being Feb. 21. 
 
"This change is motivated by the desire of the Pittsfield Police Department to increase the competitiveness and amount of eligible candidates, especially those living outside Pittsfield, but within Berkshire County," Traversa wrote.
 
Police noted that while the residency requirement may be lifted, sons and daughters of fallen police officers, disabled military veterans, and military veterans are still given preference.
 
Chief Michael Wynn said he doesn't have an exact number the department will be hiring with the next exam because the list of candidates won't be available until the fall. 
 
"We requested the change because our process on the last [current] certification became very difficult. We actually completely depleted our entire residency list, then had to go to the statewide list. Going to the statewide list that late in the age of the certification presented some additional processes," Wynn said. 
 
Police are also holding a recruitment expo at Taconic High School on Thursday, Feb. 9. The event is at 4 p.m. and representatives from the department and the state Human Resources Division will be providing an overview of the test, requirements, hiring process, and training. 
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