County Residency Requirement May Go to Referendum Vote

County Residency Requirement May Go to Referendum Vote

Shelby County Commissioners are on the verge of making a big decision on that will change the living conditions of more than 1,500 Memphis City Schools employees.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Shelby County Commissioners are on the verge of making a big decision on that will change the living conditions of more than 1,500 Memphis City Schools employees.

They decided again to give those employees who don't live in Shelby County five years to move within its limits, or be fired. But while doing this, they also voted to let you folks decide on whether you want residency requirements at all.

The votes really haven't changed since the first day they discussed this issue. They know teachers might be upset, but say next year, things might look a whole lot different.

MCS employees who live outside of Shelby County will have about five years to move back, unless you were hired before September of 1986. All county employees since then have had to live in Shelby County.

"Our Shelby County employees are saying that if we allow these teachers, these employees to live outside of Memphis and Shelby County, then they should be able to," noted Commissioner Chris Thomas.

Nobody said this was fair. Memphis school teachers and employees had nothing to do with this merger. But now, they're in it. Now they have to play by the county rules.

Commissioner Heidi Shafer stated, "This was a negotiated, or I should say a compromise position to allow five years. It doesn't lock us into not bringing it up for reconsideration."

This fight has never really changed. Shafer and Commissioner Walter Bailey are two who say work for Shelby County, live in Shelby County - that's it. But others, while saying they don't want to make any exceptions for teachers, say the hope for county employees is a little referendum action. Put the whole residency requirement issue to a vote.

"What we're going to do is put it up for a referendum and let the people decide on the residency requirement," said Commissioner Terry Roland.

The third and final vote on both issues will be at the regularly scheduled meeting of the commission on Monday.

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