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City Council to discusses controversial residency rule for officials

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Feb 25 2013 06:06:38 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 25 2013 10:19:20 PM MST
City Council to discuss controversial residency rule for officials
MISSOULA, Mont. -

The Missoula City Council is meeting Monday evening to discuss a proposal that would require top city officials to live inside the city limits and Mayor John Engen plans to present his own version of the proposed ordinance.

The proposed ordinance aims to provide economic benefit to the city and promote responsibility amongst its top leaders.

According to the most current draft of the ordinance any city official who already owns a house within the county but outside city limits would be grandfathered in; however if the ordinance takes effect future employees would have to reside within Missoula city limits. 

One county official says she fears the ordinance would sway prospects from working here.

"I would hope that you would look at hiring people for the skills that they bring to the job and not where they live," said Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss.

Missoula resident Kandi Matthew-Jenkins says she wants the ordinance passed.

"I'm very much in favor of if you're going to serve the citizens of Missoula you should live in Missoula," said Matthew-Jenkins.  "They should live with the taxes, live with the pay and live with all of the situations."

Some employee positions that the ordinance would affect include city clerk, city police chief, development services director, the Missoula Redevelopment Agency director and the city’s chief administrative officer. 

No decision was made Monday but city officials say they would love to get feedback from the community about the proposal.