Common Council votes to file challenge to residency rule

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee Common Council took a pair of votes on Tuesday, July 2nd in relation to the city's residency requirement. The 2013-2015 Wisconsin state budget ends all residency requirements -- including in Milwaukee.

City leaders voted 13-2 to continue enforcement of a rule that requires city employees to live in Milwaukee.

"No one wanted to be in this position, and with heavy heart, council felt they had their back to the wall and we have a responsibility to defend 'home rule,'" said Alderman Michael Murphy.

The city maintains that "home rule" allows cities and villages to set their own requirements for employees. But the new state budget bars municipalities from forcing their workers to live within city limits.

Michael Crivello, President of the Milwaukee Police Association and a long-time opponent of the residency rule, says the Common Council's decision leaves him confused.

"Because what the council did is they directed the council and ultimately, city leadership, to violate state law," said Crivello.

"We view it not so much as openly defying state statute, but as openly supporting our state constitution," said Mayor Tom Barrett.

The matter of whether the state's ruling is constitutional is headed for court.

Also on Tuesday, the Common Council voted 13-2 to authorize the city attorney to file a challenge to the state's ban on residency requirements.

Crivello says he's telling union members to be cautious right now.

Barrett says if any employees move out of the city citing the state's ruling, the city will follow the process it has always followed -- and that is to terminate employment.

Monitor FOX6 News and for updates on this developing story.

Related stories: