Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Policy Tests Regional Teamwork City Residency Rule Angers Some on County Council

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Policy Tests Regional Teamwork City Residency Rule Angers Some on County Council

Article excerpt

St. Louis' restrictive residency policy for city workers is hurting city-county relations, some members of the County Council say.

One councilman says Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr.'s crackdown on city employees living illegally in the suburbs is at odds with Bosley's stated support of regional cooperation.

The councilman, Democrat Jerry Corcoran of St. Ann, suggested Thursday that maybe the county should respond by refusing to take applications from city residents for jobs that open up in the future.

"Maybe we can suggest that school districts and fire districts take the same approach and see what the reaction from Tucker Boulevard is," Corcoran said at the weekly caucus of council Democrats. City Hall is on Tucker.

"We talk regionalism, then all of a sudden we get spikes and nails thrown at us," Corcoran said.

The county has no residency requirement for its workers. Payroll records show that nearly 10 percent of them live in St. Louis.

Corcoran said he was angered by a recent report that the city Fire Department has begun firing up to 40 firefighters believed to live outside the city. The city charter for many years has required city employees to live in the city, but Bosley has stepped up enforcement since he became mayor in 1993.

In response to Corcoran, Pat Washington, a spokeswoman for Bosley, said the mayor is merely enforcing a long-standing requirement that helps keep city residents working.

"He's not being punitive, and he's not being mean-spirited," Washington said. Washington added that Bosley had worked with County Executive George R. "Buzz" Westfall and other area leaders in economic development efforts to benefit the entire region - not just the city.

In an interview later, Corcoran clarified that he wasn't planning to introduce legislation to bar city residents from working for the county but that he wants Westfall to convey his irritation to the mayor.

"I would hope they'd talk this over over a Budweiser," he said in an interview.

Westfall, who has had good relations with Bosley, declined to comment.

Deane Looney, deputy St. Louis personnel director, said he believes the policy dates back to the City Charter enacted in 1914. …

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