Monday, May 19, 2008
Council wise to have department bosses live in city
TUCSON -- The city council is right in moving toward requiring new city department heads to live within city limits, and should vote to approve the proposal at this week's meeting.
Working at high levels for the City of Tucson but living in Oro Valley is like a General Motors executive driving a Hyundai. It's a bad image and defeatist message to everyone.
I respect the department heads, but if they want to help run the city, and get paid by city taxpayers three times what the average Tucsonan makes, then they should show a true commitment to live in Tucson and experience it 24/7 with their constituents. It's not the same when they retreat to the suburbs each afternoon, weekend and holiday.
Department heads are more in touch when they and their families actually live in the city they work for. There are plenty of talented qualified people who already live in the city or are willing to move in. Tucson is a decent place to live.
Given the justified concern about the city manager and two-thirds of the current high-paid department heads living outside city limits, the council may want to expand the proposal to give them some time to move in to Tucson, or accept a significant penalty or different job. If they prefer to live in the suburbs, fine, but they shouldn't expect to run a big part of a city they refuse to even live in.
Requiring new department heads to live in Tucson is a fair move by the council that should be approved and enforced. Bureaucrats may not like it, but it's a good policy for the public-interest.