Treat taxpayers like the boss on residency

By Alex Runner,

There are many reasons that local municipalities all over Wisconsin require their employees, especially emergency-response personnel, to live within the municipality itself. One of the reasons is to help build trust between residents and public sector workers. Another is to improve tax base. A third is that certain professions, like police officers or health inspectors, require in-depth understanding of neighborhood dynamics. A fourth is simply to decrease response time.

Whatever the reason, this is certainly not unreasonable. (Which is probably why thousands of applicants line up for every Milwaukee fire and police opening – knowing full well that they’ll be required to live in the city.) In fact, it’s a pretty standard condition of public employment.

And that’s exactly what it is: A condition of employment.

If you work in the private sector, chances are that your own employer had you agree to certain conditions before you were hired. Maybe you had to take a drug test. Maybe you had to fill out an ethics form. Maybe you signed a non-compete clause. If you work for any type of emergency-response company or in certain areas of health care, you very well might have agreed to a residency requirement – or to live within a certain distance of your place of work. (I know doctors for whom this is true.) Many television journalists sign a type of “morality statement,” promising to never do anything in their personal lives that could possibly shame their broadcasting company.

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