The history of the City's residency rule is interesting. It was first imposed because we could, then retained because we had to. The current situation of requiring most employees (veteran police officers and some specialty employees are exempted) to live within the city limits is somewhere between the two. I personally agree that City employees should accept residency as a condition of employment, but I do not believe that it would be the end of world if that were not so. Over the past decade, the City has become a much more livable place ' and there are great neighborhoods that match pretty much every taste and income. School choices have improved. There are a great many more things to do in the City than in the county. The fact is, I think that most employees would live in the City by choice these days. If they chose to to move out, there are many people who would move in.
It is possible that City employees may get just that choice. A bill being considered by the Board of Aldermen would put the issue of mandatory residence for city employees on the ballot. Changing the rule would require an amendment to the City Charter, a change that would require the approval of 60 percent of those voting in a municipal election.
Reasonable people can debate the merits of a residency rule. But, I strongly believe that City voters, not legislators from other parts of the state, should make the decision. So, I support giving our voters a chance to have their say, and strongly oppose legislation in Jefferson City that would repeal the rule without a vote of the people.