After a nearly 20 year battle between the Lynn Police Association and the City of Lynn, the Appeals Court has finally confirmed that State Law, MGL c. 41 sec 99A, concerning the residency of police officers and fire fighters controls any residency obligations for police officers or firefighters and that a City Charter does not have any relevance or control.
In this case, the Appeals Court ruled that the Decision issued by the Superior Court in 2000 between the Lynn Police Association and the City of Lynn is controlling. That Decision determined that MGL c. 41 sec 99A establishes residency as a term or condition of the employment of police officers and firefighters in Massachusetts and imposes a 15 mile statutory limit. The only way that a City or Town can impose a more stringent residency requirement is through collective bargaining. As Judge Grasso explained “the court finds an explicit indication of the legislature’s intent to tie local residency requirements to the collective bargaining process.”
Anticipating that the Appeals Court would agree with the Union and require bargaining over any residency requirement, the Union and the City bargained last year and reached agreement for the residency requirement for police officers in Lynn. Officers must now maintain residency in Lynn for the first 10 years of their employment.
This Decision by the Appeals Court confirms that any municipal employer who wants to require residency for police officers or firefighters more stringent than the 15 mile requirement of MGL c. 41 sec 99A must bargain with the Union.
The case is City of Lynn vs. Lynn Police Association, 12-P-1122, issued March 27, 2013 pursuant to Rule 1:28. The Union was represented by Sandulli Grace Attorneys Susan F. Horwitz and Jennifer Rubin. Attorney Horwitz also represented the Union in the original Superior Court case in 2000.