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Editorial: Should city employees be required to live in Raytown?

Beth Linn has done a remarkable job over the last two years as Raytown’s Director of Community Development, bringing new economic development opportunities to Raytown. The 2nd video in the Board of Aldermen post for 5/3/2011 will give you an idea of how much has been done and is scheduled to be completed. She has recently tendered her resignation to take the position of City Administrator of Edgerton, Kansas.

Beth is an excellent example of why a residency requirement for Raytown city employees is a flawed idea. Beth lives in Shawnee and it would have been very difficult for her to move, since her husband is a fireman in Shawnee. Raytown and most cities require 1st responders to live close enough to respond quickly, and that rule makes sense. Fire, crime, and injury require a fast response time; however, no one is going to die if it takes the Budget Director 30 minutes to get to work.

Times have changed…in many households, the husband and wife both work; people don’t stay in the same job for 20 or 30 years; children get attached to their schools; and, in the current housing market, relocation can create a real financial hardship.  Limiting our city’s talent pool to only those individuals who are willing and able to move to Raytown would reduce our choices and may result in a higher percentage of  applicants without roots or adequate experience. The quality of someone’s job performance is much more dependent on skills, experience, and character than on residency.

Thanks to Beth for her efforts on behalf of Raytown, and we wish her luck in her new position!

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