The Prince George's County Council voted unanimously yesterday to join District of Columbia employe unions in calling for an end to a law requiring city government workers to live in the District.
The action, in the form of a letter sent to the D.C. City Council, is the second time in recent months that the Prince George's County Council have questioned the District's residency law, which is now under review. In July, the council refused to endorse the creation of a job bank committee by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments because it was opposed to the District's residency requirement.
Prince George's has no residency requirement for its employes. The D.C. law requires that employes move into the city within 180 days of being hired or risk losing their jobs. Exceptions include high-level financial managers and employes at facilities outside the District.
The D.C. council has three pieces of pending legislation that would repeal or substantially modify the residency requirement. All have received strong backing from police officers and firefighters.
"We can't on one hand cry we want to lure good people, quality people who know jobs, and then put restrictions on them," said Prince George's County Council member Jo Ann T. Bell.
In a letter addressed to William R. Spaulding, the chairman of the D.C. Council's Government Operations Committee, Prince George's council Chairman William B. Amonett said that the residency requirements as now written "inhibit free movement among the jurisdictions in the metropoltan Washington area."
Nearly 30 D.C. police officers and firefighters spoke in favor of the repeal Monday in hearings at the District Building, saying the five-year-old law imposes economic hardships on government employes who can find cheaper housing in the suburbs.
Bell cited Prince George's County's increased efforts to recruit minority police officers as an example of a policy that would suffer if D.C. residency rules were enforced.