Charter amendment would make new city employees live in city

February 25, 1992|By Sandy Banisky | Sandy Banisky,Staff Writer

All new city government employees would have to live in Baltimore under terms of a charter amendment introduced into the Baltimore City Council last night.

The measure, introduced by Councilman Wilbur E. Cunningham, would affect city employees hired after Jan. 1, 1993.

The council resolution comes a month after Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke suggested that all government workers be required to live in the city.

But, while Mr. Schmoke could simply issue an executive order to impose the requirement, the charter amendment could not take effect without public hearings and approval by the voters.

"This way we could get the public, the unions, everyone involved," Mr. Cunningham said.

Mr. Schmoke suggested the residency requirement last month in an effort to keep more middle-class workers -- and their paychecks -- within the city limits. The city now gives hiring and promotional preferences to city residents but doesn't require residency for workers. Cabinet members must live in Baltimore or promise to move soon after their appointment.

"Things have changed drastically in this city," Mr. Cunningham said on the council floor last night. A few years ago, he said, he never would have introduced such a bill, "but the economy and the political situation that we face dictate that we do so."

But labor union representatives are not pleased with the measure.

Dean G. Muscello, first vice president of the Baltimore Fire Officers Association, said that such a requirement will not help the city's relationship with its neighbors. "Once the city does it, the other jurisdictions will copycat it. Once that happens, regionalism will wither and die." He said 54 percent of firefighters and officers live in the city.

Fred Bosak, a member of the legislative committee of the Fraternal Order of Police, said, "You should have the right to work where you want to work, no matter where you live. You're working for the people of Baltimore City."

A hearing on the resolution will be scheduled.

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