Thursday, February 24, 2005

Representing an actual geography...

Presumed 2007 Mayoral candidate Jonathan Saidel and current City Councilman Frank DiCicco are both arguing for a relaxation of residency requirements for Philadelphia city employees. I guess it would feel wrong to me for a Mayor, Congressperson, or other person elected to represent a geographical area not to actually live in that area. I can see a parallel (but slightly different) argument against "outsider" police. But, really, does it matter whether the bulk of city civil servants -- the office workers and the like -- live in the city limits? My instinct is to say that everybody working in the city's interests should share those interests, but it also seems arbitrary to exclude workers who have two-body location issues or who live right across the river from a specific subset of jobs in Philadelphia. (This is all before you get into the cases discussed in the article, where somebody has to relocate before even finding out whether they get a job.)

I'd be interested to hear anybody else's thoughts on this issue.


Blogger Friedman said...

Making it possible for non-Philadelphians to apply for and get City jobs is fine, as long as they move into the City within a set period of time after they get the job. For full-time City employees, the residency requirement must be sacrosanct; it's an important way to build committment to mission and esprit de corps among municipal employees.

10:55 PM  
Blogger AboveAvgJane said...

I disagree with Friedman, whose blog I read and enjoy. Working in one area while living in another does not mean diconnection and lack of committment. Those are more internal than external qualities. I imagine many city workers are disconnected from the city and do nothing to improve it. Also, you lose potential employees when both partners in a marriage want to work in areas that have residency requirements. If you have a job that required you to live in a county and your spouse or partner is an excellent candidate for a job that requires city residency, what should they do? You lose people. I applaud your devotion to the city, but question the logic of your conclusions.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Friedman said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Friedman said...

AboveAvgJane makes some great and logical points. Removing the residency requirement for those applying for a City job is a practical policy; that way, we could draw excellent, qualified candidates from all over the region and world. However, if they accept the position (and sometimes lifetime employment), they should find a domicile somewhere in the vast, 135 square mile expanse that is the City of Philadelphia. Sure, we'll loose some great folks this way but we'll gain more in the balance.

4:04 PM  

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