The Buffalo News’ “The ‘Burbs” blog posed a question yesterday that has been asked by many a municipality: should public employees be required to live where they work?
(Sorry for this lame picture. I couldn’t think of any other way to illustrate this story.)
Their post dealt with the Buffalo suburb of Amherst, but it’s a question that has been asked throughout our region.
Typically, municipal leaders – and oftentimes voters as well – favor such rules, which are often opposed by police and firefighters unions.
This has been a hot topic in Ohio with most of the state’s big cities, like Cleveland, Youngstown, Toledo, and others, pushing for residency rules.
The issue has even reached the state supreme court.
According to this Columbus Dispatch article, 134 cities and villages in Ohio have residency rules for at least some employees.
The cities’ argument – keeping employees close is important for public safety, and also keeps a large group of reliably middle-class workers within the city’s borders.
A Lorain city official once expressed his view on the subject to me this way, “If the city is good enough for you to take our money, it’s good enough for you to live here.”
Workers argue they should be able to live where they want, and “For far too long, a few cities have held their police officers hostage to high taxes, poor schools and mismanagement of municipal services,” an FOP attorney is quoted as saying in this story.
What do you think?