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How To Hurt Hiring

Hartford Courant Editorial

July 18, 2011

Here's a new wrinkle in the old argument over whether city workers should be forced to live in the city.

Under state law, unionized municipal workers can't be compelled to live in the town or city, such as Hartford, in which they work. But nonunion, unclassified employees such as department heads and other administrators are treated differently. They are subject to so-called residency rules.

In Hartford, such administrators must move to the city within six months of being hired if they don't live there already.

That requirement can put an employee in a pickle, especially if there's a house to sell in this historically bad market or if it means a child must leave a beloved school. But mainly it denies department heads and supervisors freedom of choice of where to live. That freedom should not be denied.

The city - any city - is better off if it can draw talented workers from a wider universe.

But city council President rJo Winch wants to make Hartford's residency requirement even more draconian. She says it's not being enforced now (if true, probably for reasonable reasons).

In February, she floated a proposal that would force newly hired department heads and other administrators to move to Hartford within 60 days. The too-short turnaround didn't fly.

A different version was passed by the council Monday that still gives the nonunion employee six months to relocate to Hartford but allows the council to recommend to the mayor that he fire any employee who hasn't moved to the city in the allotted time.

The amended residency requirement is not going to be an incentive for a talented administrator to apply for a job in Hartford.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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