Commission Takes Up Residency for MCS Employees

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(Memphis) Hundreds of Memphis City Schools employees will be in violation of the county residency requirement when the schools they become Shelby County schools employees.

“These MCS employees got caught up in this merger issue. They didn’t vote for it they were just these,” said Commissioner Mike Ritz.

For that reason Ritz wanted to grandfather all those employees into the County residency policy which says you have to live in the county to work for the county.

Most commissioners didn’t like that idea so they compromised on a five-year grace period to let those employees move in.

All MCS employees hired before 1986 would be grandfathered in because that’s the year the residency requirement was put into the city charter.

Ritz thinks the county policy is important, but he also thinks it’s only fair to give them five years to move here.

“If you are going to work for the county you need to live here and pay our taxes. We have and incredibly good pay plan and retirement plan and other benefits,” said Ritz.

Commissioner Melvin Burgess says they are trying to make a world-class education system and to do that you must consider the most qualified candidate no matter where they live.

He is in favor of doing away with the residency policy for teachers.

Commissioner Terry Roland wants to get rid of it for all 6,000 Shelby County employees.

“We’re the only county in the state that has it.  I think it’s outlived its usefulness and it’s keeping us from getting good talent in here,” said Roland.

Other commissioners agree and they are considering a second ordinance that will let Shelby County voters decide if they want to change the charter to do away with the requirement.

Because it’s in the charter the commission alone can’t change it.

That plan is up for its second out of three readings.