Friday, March 24, 2000

Residency rule sought

Proposal alters city jobs policy

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — There is a push to make living in Hamilton a legal requirement for city employees, changing the decades-old practice of allowing the city manager to rule on whether employees had to live in the city.

        Hamilton City Council is ex pected to consider the residency ordinance in about four weeks after the law department drafts the document. About 46 percent of Hamilton's 750 employees live outside the city limits. The ordinance likely would affect only new employees.

        But several union leaders representing city employees opposed the proposed ordinance during Wednesday's City Council meeting.

        “It is absolutely ridiculous to say that you have to live in the city,” said Brian Robinson, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 38 in Hamilton.

        Councilman Richard Holzberger said he initiated the idea because many employees think the city manager is showing favoritism with some employees.

        “If we have an ordinance, it will clear up any misperception that the manager is playing favorites on who may live in or outside the city limits,” he said.

        City Manager Steve Sorrell said the perceptions are false.

        “I have tried to make a distinct attempt to uniformly and fairly apply this policy to all city employees. And I guarantee I have done that,” Mr. Sorrell said.

        Councilman George McNally said he would not vote for an ordinance requiring all employees to live in the city because “living in the county is sufficient.”

        Talk of the residency requirement surfaced this week after a finance department employee was denied permission to move outside the city. The city manager eventually granted the permission.

        Mr. Sorrell said he considers financial hardship, marital concerns, property ownership and children established in schools when granting an exemption to the residency policy.


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