To work for a city, should you have to live there?
Wed, Mar 23, 2011 (2:20 p.m.)
If you want to run North Las Vegas, you’ve got to live in North Las Vegas. Seems like that shouldn’t be an issue, but it is. Right now, some North Las Vegas officials are living in Utah, among other places.
But that’s all about to change … albeit slowly. Last week, the North Las Vegas City Council passed a law requiring city officials to move into the city limits within 60 days of being hired. Here’s the catch: The law only applies to future hires, future appointees and future electees. Not current ones. Hypocritical? A bit. Easier to pass? You betcha. Good law overall? Yes and no.
On the one hand, if you live within the city you govern, you have a personal incentive to govern well. If you don’t do a good job, it’s your garbage that’s not getting picked up, your potholes that aren’t being filled and your parks that are unsafe for your kids.
On the other hand, residency requirements will keep out talented legislators who don’t need to live in the city they run to govern effectively. And let’s be real: North Las Vegas isn’t—how can I put this mildly?—yet at its full potential. You can’t blame someone for wanting to fix it up, and you can’t blame someone for wanting to live elsewhere. You can’t blame someone for wanting to do both at the same time, either.
Hopefully, soon, this residency requirement will be moot. Hopefully, soon, North Las Vegas officials won’t move to North Las Vegas because they have to, but because they want to.