- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 26, 2003

New city government employees would have to live in the city under a plan a D.C. Council member will introduce next week.
"It makes no sense for us to pay the salaries of certain individuals and not have the right to tell them, if they're government workers, that they have to live in the place where they receive their checks," council member Kevin P. Chavous, Ward 7 Democrat, told the Associated Press.
Current city employees would be exempt from the rule.
About 70 percent of the more than 34,000 full-time city government employees live outside the city. While locally elected officials and senior department heads are required to live in the city, many assistant fire and police chiefs, school principals, and rank-and-file city workers live in suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. Some city employees commute from as far away as West Virginia.
D.C. public schools Superintendent Paul L. Vance has said two-thirds of the school system's 11,000 employees live in suburban Maryland.
"It would improve performance. It will make people live in D.C. because they want to work here," said council member Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams has set a goal of attracting 100,000 new residents over the next decade by building and rehabilitating homes and apartments. The new residents would boost the local economy and broaden the tax base for the city, where 57 percent of the land is federally owned or otherwise tax-exempt.
"When we have 70 percent of the city's work force living outside the city, it really hurts," said council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat and chairman of the council's finance and revenue committee. "Congress continues to shoot down bills like this, and we need to confront them on this."
Congress frequently has used its constitutionally mandated oversight authority to block enforcement of laws deemed in conflict with regional priorities or majority policy.
"We ought to pursue regional cooperation rather than regional conflict," said Rep. Albert R. Wynn, Maryland Democrat, whose constituents include many city workers.
While the measure has the support of most of the 13 members of the D.C. Council, key members of the mayor's staff have reservations.
"We're having trouble recruiting in several positions," said Tony Bullock, a mayoral spokesman.
He noted difficulties filling out the ranks of police officers and paramedics as examples.
"If you put a residency requirement on those positions, you'll make that problem worse," Mr. Bullock said.

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