Public debate over Milwaukee city employee residency rule

CREATED Apr 4, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - An issue dividing many in the Milwaukee area will reach a public debate before it goes to the state legislature.

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker's budget calls for eliminating the residency rules for City of Milwaukee employees.

Lawmakers are asking what you think at a public hearing at Greendale High School.

Right now, about 6,800 city workers are required to live in the city, but Gov. Walker wants to change that.

The rule affects all workers, including teachers, police officers and firefighters.

Walker proposed in his 2013 budget to remove the rule, which has been in place since the 1930's.

He says workers should have the freedom of choice.

One former Milwaukee Police officer told TODAY'S TMJ4 he lost his job due to the rule.

Critics fear that if the rule is no longer in effect, Milwaukee could be economically hit hard as people leave the city.

They also say that Walker is playing politics, and his proposal is aimed at Milwaukee Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett.

"It's foolish to impose this on it," said Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn.

"There are other ways to pay back the Mayor for having the temerity to run for governor."

"Teachers have said they prefer not to be an indentured servant for a residency requirement," said River Hills Republican State Senator Alberta Darling.

The meeting starts at 10:00 a.m. and goes all day.

Lawmakers were also set to discuss other measures in the state budget at that meeting.