Residency is still an issue for the person who will serve as the next City Administrator for Little Falls.  Tom West, editor of the Morrison County Record, says so in his latest Viewpoint column and points out why it’s so important for a City Admin to live within the city he/she is serving.  While I don’t discount much of Tom’s reasoning on the issue – it is important for a City Admin to become a part of the community – the real issue is one of legality.  As I posted previously, state law only allows for residency requirements for emergency personnel.  I would consider the City Administrator to be in the second tier of those notified during an emergency, not the first tier, which is the domain of firefighters, the police department and other emergency responders.  The City Admin is not going to be of much use during the immediate phase of an emergency, unless he/she has been trained in one of these areas.  Where the City Admin will be most effective is in informing the public of the emergency, working as the liaison between the public and emergency personnel.  That’s not going to happen within the first five minutes of an emergency.

Until Tom West and members of the City Council in favor of the residency requirement can convince state lawmakers that cities should be able to pin residency requirements on its employees, whoever accepts the City Admin post will be in a position to fight the city ordinance on legal grounds.  Do we really want to make a new city employee an immediate adversary?

Swimming in circles,

Phineas F. A. Pickerel

In related news, as of this writing, the City Council has chosen Garrison Hale, by a narrow margin over Crystal Prentice, as the favored candidate and will begin negotiating with him on the terms of employment.