Changing Shelby County Residency Requirement Could Require Vote

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(Memphis) Changing the residency policy for Shelby County employees means changing the county charter.

By state law, it takes approval from a county referendum to change the charter.

“The county commission by voting against this could be in violation of state law because the people’s voices should be heard in this,” said Commissioner Terry Roland.

Roland doesn’t support a commission resolution that exempts Memphis City Schools teachers from the residency policy, and gives all other MCS employees five years to move once they become county employees this summer.

Roland says MCS teachers should have to follow the same rules everyone else has to follow, “They’re very hypocritical about it.  They only want to grandfather in the teachers, but the other 8,000 employees they want them to be under a different policy."

Commissioner Chris Thomas says it’s not fair to grandfather in MCS teachers, but leave other staff members out to dry, “Making exceptions for teachers over staff members, I just didn’t support that and I don’t think it’s a good idea.  I think we all need to be on the same page."

Roland wants the residency policy to be thrown out altogether which is why he has written a bill and for state lawmakers to take up this session.

If the bill is approved, it would outlaw residency policies all across the state.

Right now Shelby County is the only county in Tennessee that requires all employees to live in the county.