NEW YORK NURSE: September 2009
by Randi Hoffman
New York City nurses working for the Police and Fire departments and other mayoral agencies can now live outside the five boroughs, just like the police and firefighters they work beside.
The New York City Health and Hospital Corporation (HHC) “mayorals” include registered nurses working for the Administration for Children’s Services, the Human Resources Administration, Correctional Health Services, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Sanitation, and the Office of the Aging, as well as the nurses working in the Police and Fire departments.
Evette Simmons, president of the NYPD LBU, has long been lobbying public officials to change the residency law. She recounted how one of the nurses in the unit desperately wanted to buy a home outside of the city for herself and her sick mother. “She’s one of the case management nurses and has been here over 15 years,” said Simmons. “Recently she lost her mom. But one of her mother’s dying wishes was for her to be able to purchase a house outside of the city. Unfortunately, her mother passed away before the law changed.”
The residency bill was passed by the City Council on July 29, but was vetoed by Mayor Bloomberg. The city council overturned the veto on July 29 by a vote of 46-1. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn made a strong pitch at the beginning of the meeting to override the veto, according to NYSNA Community Affairs Representative Carol Pittman, who attended the meeting. She said City Councilmember Robert Jackson of Northern Manhattan called it a “clean up” bill to insure that city workers received all the same privileges.
The bill has been moving back and forth in the council for the past two years.
“NYSNA has long been working with DC37 and other Municipal Labor Committee unions to bring about this victory,” said Pittman.
Thousands of other municipal workers will also be affected by this override. They include lawyers for city agencies and Housing Authority workers. HHC nurses, police, firefighters and teachers, among others, were already permitted to live outside the city and commute to their jobs.
Robert Samuel, a NYSNA nurse working in the Bronx House of Detention for Correctional Health Services, said, “Once we have qualified personnel, provided they give adequate, professional care, where they live has nothing to do with it, whether it’s Westchester or Soho.”