Residency law

On Feb. 25 there was a Sun-Gazette editorial that made several points about a contemplated residency law for city employees. One point is: It’s important to attract the best job candidates, and a residency requirement for some leadership posts may narrow the pool.

Another is: For “positions below the department head level, in the year 2018, when transiency is a daily reality, it’s unrealistic to expect people to live within the city as a condition of employment.”

Defining the “best candidates” can be subjective. Some people would place greater emphasis on education, others on experience, others on personal qualities such as whether an individual has a history of acting on emotion as opposed to sound rational judgement. But for public servants, doesn’t having a feel for the community one serves help one serve that community more effectively?

And, what about incentive? Doesn’t someone who lives in a community have more incentive to make it a better place than someone who is there for forty hours a week? Isn’t someone with an investment in a house, whose property value is to a degree based on the community’s reputation, similarly incentivized?

From the city employees’ perspective, wouldn’t a residency requirement increase demand for city housing and thus strengthen the city tax base, and wouldn’t that strengthen the funding base that pays city employee salaries?

Richard Morris


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom