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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Live in benefits?

One of my pet peeves about Camden is that there is no residency requirement for city employees. In a CP article I posted today, the issue is about Police and Firefighters. They have to live in the city at time of application, but may move out immediately upon being hired. You can guess the rest (although the article had no facts or figures about the existing residency percentage of those groups - bad reporting).

For everyone else in city hall, you can live where you like. I don't know if the Camden city School District has a residency requirement for teachers and admin employees or not. But residency is one way to diversify the population base of this city. People who work for the public sector earn a working class to middle class salary. Imagine if those people were living in the city. Don't you think they would have an impact on housing, retail, services, and the city overall?

Shouldn't those who earn their living from the city give back in some way - like living here? I know all the arguments against residency and I personally don't think any of them are valid. I realize others do. But let's focus on the benefits of residency, how we could make that work FOR people and what it would be like to have those employees living here.

My contention is that if you don't want to live here, you don't have to work here. The city could then hire locally. In this economy, I think we would find that people would move here to get or keep a job. I know a lot of college students that would love to work for the city and would live here. Use the market, people. Stop letting old habits and antiquated labor policy dictate the city's future.

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