George Washington firmly believed that public employees ought to live in the city they serve. "Every matter, & thing, that relates to the City ought to be transacted therein and the persons to whose care they are committed (should be) Residents," he wrote in 1796.
Two hundred years later, residency requirements are common and controversial. Many municipalities require rank-and-file workers to live within city limits. If an emergency hits, the reasoning goes, employees can be rounded up quickly.
Such laws can ease local unemployment. And taxpayer dollars paid to public employees who were residents tended to go back into the community.
Mayors say it's not as …