A pointless exercise

November 18, 2008

Gary’s police department is having budget problems and can’t keep the same size force. So officers are turning on each other.

A group of city dwellers who filed a lawsuit demanding termination for all nonresidents will argue their case before Lake Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Arredondo next month.

“It is a fact that Gary City Ordinance 5881 … requires police officers to live within the corporate boundaries of the City of Gary or lose their employment,” a court document states.

I’m not sure why the case is still alive, exactly. That city ordinance is trumped by legislation from the General Assembly, which, in its infinite wisdom, carved out separate residency requirements for public safety employees. They are allowed to live either in the county of employment or any contiguous county. I don’t agree with that. Public employees are different from private-sector employees, and they all should be required to live in the same jurisdictions as the taxpayers who pay their salaries. And they should at least all be subject to the same rules, whether we like them or not. But the state did what it did, and a city can’t supersede its dictates.

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