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City Council could require department heads to live in city limits

By Will Wadley, KECI Weekend Anchor, wwadley@keci.com
Published On: Feb 07 2013 05:10:31 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 07 2013 05:11:11 PM MST
city council
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Missoula City Councilors say top city officials should have something at stake when it comes to where they live.

City councilors moved forward a proposal to require city department heads, which adds up to about 8 to 10 positions, to live inside city limits.

The proposal wouldn't require anyone currently employed to move; it would only affect the successors to current department heads.

"I'm not sure if you can require the chief of police to live in Missoula or not. I think it's a good idea if they do, but to require it by law seems like a little bit much."

City Councilman Alex Taft said many other cities already have similar requirements, and Missoula should be no different.

"When you are invested in the city personally, you will develop its policies and implement its policies in a more sensitive way," said Taft.

Missoula resident Marina Woodson agrees.

"To know what's going on the city, you have to live here," said Woodson.

Missoula resident Pat Burke says he thinks it's a good idea for city officials to be close to the city they work for, but he doesn’t think it should be required.

"I'm not sure if you can require the chief of police to live in Missoula or not. I think it's a good idea if they do, but to require it by law seems like a little bit much."

All but one city councilor voted to hold a public hearing to discuss the proposal, but some city officials say it's a bad idea, including Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir.

A date for the public hearing to discuss the proposal has yet to be set. Taft said it will probably happen about 2-3 weeks.