Impact of residency requirement plan

APPLETON — Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna is speaking out against a portion of Governor Walker's budget proposal.

Walker proposed eliminating residency requirements statewide in his budget address Wednesday.

He says it can help municipalities hire based on merit.

Story: Walker wants residency laws removed

Appleton has the requirement only for department heads.

While Hanna says Appleton doesn't need the requirement, the state shouldn't dictate local level issues.

The City of Appleton has had some form of residency requirement for city employees since 1965. Currently the only city employees required to live in Appleton are department heads.

"Council made it pretty clear that we think it's important that the top paid people who work for the city, that they live in the city," said Hanna.

But it's a rule Hanna doesn't like.

"It limits the market that we are going after."

The residency rule is one reason why the city has had trouble filling its director of information technology position. The job has been open for more than two years. Now Governor Walker wants to do away with the requirements statewide.

"As much as we've done with the changes we've made in terms of collective bargaining where hiring and firing can be based on merit and ultimately pay based on performance, this is another example where people can be hired on their merit, not just where they reside," said Governor Walker.

While Hanna says he doesn't think residency requirements are necessary for Appleton, he also says he doesn't like the governor's one size fits all approach.

"The governor and the legislature, they don't know what's best for us...when is it going to stop? This erosion of our ability to govern ourselves?"

Last month Green Bay's city council debated a residency waiver for its new police chief Tom Molitor. Molitor told the council he wanted the position but was not willing to move from Abrams into the city. He was eventually granted a waiver. One that would no longer be necessary if the legislature sides with Governor Walker. One budget provision Hanna doesn't want to see forced on the city.

"This is going to throw a little wrench in our plans, but it's not going to stop us from moving forward."

The League of Wisconsin Municipalities says it is surveying more than 600 communities and will take an official position on the proposal in a few weeks.

Copyright 2014 WLUK TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Wisconsin’s population totaled 5,686,986, a 6.0% increase over the 2000 U.S. Census count of 5,363,715. (Source: Wisconsin Blue Book)
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