City will decide if it can live with its residency requirement

April 22, 2010

Police Chief Thomas Bauer is asking the Common Council to reconsider its rule that department managers must reside within the Oak Creek city limits.

The request comes at a time the city is searching for a new city administrator. In addition, Police and Fire Commission members are establishing the succession process for the police and fire chiefs.

Bauer, a lifelong Oak Creek resident who is planning to retire soon, supports eliminating the residency rule. It made sense when it was established in the 1980s, but technology has evolved to the point where immediacy is less of an issue, Bauer said.

Moreover, it could preclude good candidates from becoming the manager of a department, he said. Not only is it difficult to sell a house in today's market, it's asking a lot of people to uproot their families from their neighborhoods and schools, Bauer said.

The council could establish requirements similar to that of other full-time employees - police officers and other city union employees must live within a 20-mile radius and firefighters must live within roughly a 15-mile radius of Fire Station 1.

The council took no action Tuesday and it is not known when, or if, a formal ordinance change will be proposed.

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