City Councilor Bob Jaffe Thinks Cops and Fire Personnel Living Outside of the City is OK
It’s so bassackwards that I just have to ask: How could cops and fire personnel that live outside of the community be a good thing? And OK thing?
I ask that in the context of the what seems to be the current pressing issue for the City of Missoula right now. And while I say that a little snarky, I actually do think it important that city employees live in the city. Especially department heads and…dare I say it…police and fire.
The Missoulian’s Keila Szpaller went to work immediately after Wednesday’s committee meeting, it seems, as this morning’s paper brought us the news that the majority of the city’s top cops live outside of the city.
Below I’m going to print Bob Jaffe’s listserv committee report, a sort of informal – but still public – discussion on city issues.
I’ll also point out that while Jaffe retells City of Missoula Police Chief Muir comments in committee on Wednesday by saying “Police chief Muir spoke against the proposal telling us he moved to the county for the higher quality of life and likely would not have taken the job as police chief if this rule were in place,” he takes no effort to dispel Muir’s contention.
Jaffe continues, seemingly acknowledging the superior quality of life in the county – which is a little peculiar coming from a city councilor, no? I mean, is it not an odd public introspection of his and his fellow councilor’s work? Bob’s been on council for more than 6 years now, I’m pretty sure.
Anyways……Jaffe’s full report below the fold, to make sure you have the full context.
Today we mixed up the schedule a bit and started with Administration and Finance. Our first item was to set a public hearing to consider a new policy that will require certain department heads to live within the city. The thinking is that if folks are going to be in top decision making roles over how government in the city will function, they should live among us. Another argument is that if they are drawing their pay from city taxes they should also be contributing to that tax base. The former argument resonates with me more than the latter. Police chief Muir spoke against the proposal telling us he moved to the county for the higher quality of life and likely would not have taken the job as police chief if this rule were in place. This statement pretty much sums up the problem. The department heads have a much greater role than council members in guiding day to day functioning and the direction of policy of city government. I think it would be good to have people in those roles who are on board with the idea that living in the city is desirable.
Can people who don’t want to live in the city still make good police chiefs? Certainly. We have had plenty of good department heads who live outside the city but the issue of personal perspective definitely comes up from time to time. I think the connection is easier to draw for positions like planning director, public works, engineering, and the CAO. Maybe not so much for police and fire. It is likely we will make some kind of exception for people who are current city employees who get promoted. This should be an interesting discussion at the public hearing in a few weeks.
Our next item was approving the issuance of bonds for URD2….Jaffe continues on, and you can read the rest here.
So you tell me: Out of town cops and fire a good thing? I seem to remember video of out of town cops coming in and beating up the locals while the Hell’s Angels were in town.
And it is really a good idea from emergency disaster planning issue?
Oh, sticks – what do I know? I’m just an anonymous blogger, so this opinion above doesn’t mean a shit.