Mayor, Council split on residency requirements

Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry is pushing for a universal 9 mile residency rule for department heads to attract top talent into key city positions.

"I think we need to think about what is living in town,” said Henry. “What does that mean? Does it have to be the corporate city limits proper?"

For city councilman Navreet Kang that answer is definitely yes.

"It's a sacrifice,” Kang said. “How bad do you want something that you've got to make that sacrifice? If I have an emergency situation I want heads of the department here in less than 5 minutes at a central command control."

However, Henry says the clause is the reason the police chief vacancy has yet to be filled and top employees in other departments are being passed over for promotions.

"It's a problem,” Henry said. “It's a problem even hiring new people to come in, because they have to move."

"We should pull it in instead of making it a wider area, and we should make everybody who works for the city be a part of the city and live in the city," Kang said.

Because Interim Police Chief Jeff Grubbs lives in unincorporated Jackson County he is ineligible for the full time job, forcing the city manager to finally post the police chief vacancy.

Mayor Mike Henry says in the past the police and fire departments have petitioned to expand the residency rules to 15 miles, but were rejected.

The Carbondale City Council will discuss the possibility of the 9 mile limit at the July 28 meeting.

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