June 18, 2007

Dayton Mayor to City Employees: You Belong to Me

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:05 am

Where the problem in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio is that politicians running for Congress don’t care about living in the district they represent or wish to represent, there is a different type of residency problem in Southwestern Ohio. Here, one big-city government wants to force municipal employees to live in the city — despite state law, upheld so far in court, that doing so is, well, unlawful. The City of Cincinnati, which has been in a decades-long tug of war with city employees (and which I believe still requires employees to live in Hamilton County, but not the city itself), is surely watching to see if circumventing the law and wearing down employees who challenge the plantation owner will work.

Making a situation first noted on June 7 even worse, Dayton’s Mayor Rhine McLin and her government have apparently gone off the deep end on this (link may require free registration), both with political rhetoric and taxpayer funds:

….. the city (recently) lost a battle in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court to require that all city employees reside within Dayton’s boundaries.

The city had sued the state, claiming a new law curtailing residency requirements violated the city’s home rule provision.

Dayton officials sought to have the state law deemed unconstitutional. That didn’t happen.

Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin said the city will appeal the decision and that employees move out of town at their own risk.

“If you are a city employee and you choose to move out of the city, you will be terminated,” McLin said. “It will be up to you to fight your way back.”

….. The city pays a private investigator, Cincinnati-based CalCrim, an average of $4,500 per investigation to follow up on one to 20 tips per year regarding possible employee residency violations.

A majority of the tips prove to be false, said Brent McKenzie, employee relations manager for the city.

In 2005, the city earmarked up to $108,600 for the investigations and $103,000 in 2006.

The earlier section of the article reports on an employee who is moving out of the city and expects to be fired for it. I would think that he could get a restraining order if such an attempt is made, because at this point the mayor is engaging in an objectively unlawful power play. But of course, that requires money, which the employee surely has a limited supply of, while the City appears willing to expend any and all resources necessary to keep itself above the law.

Based on the previous post about carpetbagging congressmen and congressional candidates in other parts of Ohio, perhaps the employee’s best strategy would be to declare himself a candidate for the US House. Then he can tell the Mayor that his declaration gives him the right to live anywhere in the state.

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UPDATE, June 21: The employee has been fired, and is challenging.

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