Battle Brewing over Shelby County Residency Requirement

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(Memphis) Memphis City Schools teachers may be catching a break from county commissioners who want to grandfather them in to Shelby County’s residency policy even if they live in another county.

But county commissioners have shot down an ordinance that would do away with the residency requirement for all county employees.

Commissioner Terry Roland says it’s not fair for MCS teachers who live outside the county to be exempt from the county residency policy if deputies and firemen have to follow it.

When the schools officially merge in August all Memphis City Schools employees will become Shelby County employees.

As county employees they will fall under rules that say they have to live in Shelby County to work for it.

“The charter says you have to live in the county. What we’re doing is trying to compromise.  We’re going to give them five years to move here,” said Roland.

If those MCS employees don’t move here they won’t have a job anymore, but now there is an exception.

A commission committee is adding a resolution that would grandfather MCS teachers in exempting them from the requirements.

Other staff will have to move or be fired.

Roland wants a plan to get rid of the requirements all together saying it’s unfair to give one group of employees special treatment, but other committee members shot down that idea.
“I think it’s outdated, and I think it’s intrusive,” said Roland.

Roland’s plan would have let the public vote on an ordinance to change the charter and decide if they want to do away with the requirement or keep it.

He says the county is missing out on good employees by limiting competition, but Commissioner Walter Bailey says it’s ok.

“I’m for residency.  I think everybody who works here for the government ought to pay taxes,” said Bailey.

Bailey says when it comes to hiring Shelby County residents should be shown favor.

“I say give out folks here a break.  Let’s take care of our own,” said Bailey.

These resolutions will be brought before the full commission Monday and Roland says he’ll try to strip the grandfathering of teachers off the ordinance, and even go to the state legislature to see about doing away with the residency requirement.