Commissioner Proposes Public Vote on Residency Requirements

Commissioner Proposes Public Vote on Residency Requirements

A Shelby County Commissioner says you folks have the right to decide whether county employees should be forced to live in Shelby County. It's the law, but Commissioner Terry Roland says it's not a very good law, and thinks it should be changed.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A Shelby County Commissioner says you folks have the right to decide whether county employees should be forced to live in Shelby County. It's the law, but Commissioner Terry Roland says it's not a very good law, and thinks it should be changed.

Memphis city school teachers could live anywhere they wanted. Once Shelby County takes over the system, they might have just five years to move into Shelby County.

Residency requirements aren't unusual in this area; the City of Memphis has one. The question is whether you think it's right.

Commissioner Walter Bailey doesn't get emotional much anymore. But when it comes to Shelby County employees living in Shelby County, he shows there's still fire in the furnace. It's not right to live outside of Shelby County, he says.

"You come here, you draw salary and all we see is your tail lights at the end of the day. You're gone. You don't feel the tax increase that we have to raise to pay for your services, to pay for your salaries."

It's the law. If you work for Shelby County, you live in Shelby County. Nobody ever said it was fair.

Several Memphis city school teachers, who have been able to live anywhere they wanted, told county commissioners they'd be financially ruined having to move in to Shelby County. They didn't win any friends with commissioners, who put in a five year deadline.

Roland doesn't like residency requirements, but says his hands are tied. He wants to put the issue to a vote.

"Take it to the people. Let the people speak," he said. "You've got to deal with what law you have to deal with, and if the law doesn't suit the matter then take it to the people and let them change the law."

The earliest the issue could get on a ballot would be next year. In the meantime, county commissioners will make their final rulings on teacher residency requirements in the next few weeks.

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