As any of you who read the QCTimes know, they've been running a series on cities' residency requirements, how they affect their applicant pool, and some of the reasons behind the rules.
It seems like the common thread through the articles is a general dislike of the rules, which in some ways is understandable. I completely disagree that rules that allow employees to work for a different city/county in one state, but not a closer city/county across the river. The example was where a city's firefighters could legally live in Muscatine, but not Rock Island. I understand, and will explain below, requiring government employees to live in the jurisdiction of their particular city or county. However, if you're going to let employees live outside your city or county, there shouldn't be requirements by state either. A radius in miles from the city hall, police station, fire station, or public works building would make more sense to me. I know there were a couple jobs for Rock Island that I was intrigued by, but despite being able to see the city from my living room window, I couldn't have worked there without moving. However, someone that lived south of Milan would have been eligible. That makes little sense to me.
On the other hand, I completely agree with cities/counties requiring some (or all) of their employees to live in the particular municipality they work for. These government jobs are usually decent paying and have good benefits, so what's wrong with one more job requirement? There are already plenty of things that employers insist on in order to hire someone. If they're going to pay you well and give you good benefits, the least you can do is give them back some loyalty in the form of property taxes.
I especially feel this rule is justified for police, which apparently the new Chief does not. Forcing officers to live in the very same community they're responsible for protecting should give us all a sense that we're in this together. Someone can't say, "well, good enough for government work" and then drive home to a nearby suburb, unaffected by how well they did or did not do their job. If cops don't feel safe in their town, that should just give them more empathy for the rest of us depending on them. We're all in the same boat.
I know there are some strong feelings out there about Davenport city employees living elsewhere than Davenport, so lets hear it.