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Council takes on immigration, residency, minority hiring stats

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Residency requirements for police, the detention of immigrants and data on the racial composition of the city’s workforce dominated the City Council meeting last week.

The council passed by voice vote Councilor Michael Flaherty’s ordinance that would require candidates for jobs in the police department to live for three years in Boston before being hired. Flaherty argues that with the current one-year residency requirement, job applicants from other cities and towns can move to Boston when they take the civil service exam, remain in the city in the year it takes them to receive their results and then compete with Boston residents for the jobs.

“Our hope is that we’ll give city kids a chance to compete for positions as well as create a more diverse workforce that reflects Boston’s diversity,” Flaherty said.

While Boston’s population is 53 percent people of color, 80 percent of the state’s population identified as white in the 2010 Census. In the most recent graduating class of police recruits, just 17 percent were people of color. By limiting candidates to long-term Boston residents, Flaherty argues, the police would draw from a more diverse pool.