CINCINNATI (TDB) -- An appeals court in Lima has overtuned a state law that says Ohio cities cannot enforce employment policies that require municipal workers to reside within the city limits. The full text of the 40-page ruling by Ohio's 3rd District Court of Appeals is available here. The decision does not apply statewide. State lawyers plan to ask the Ohio Supreme Court to review the decision and settle the legal disputes about municipal residency requirements once and for all.
Other courts have said residency laws are illegal.
But the three-judge panel in Lima unanimously tossed aside a recent Allen County Common Pleas Court decision that found state law negated the residency requirements. Several cities, including Cincinnati and Cleveland, have enacted residency rules based on Home Rule powers granted under the Ohio Constitution. The appeals court said the rules are valid because:
" . . . there is no constitutional right to choose where one lives and, at the same time, demand employment from an unwilling employer."
Thus, the ruling came down on the side of city officials. They contended that having a workforce living inside the municipal bounds enhanced job performance, gave employees a personal stake in the city's success and improvement, made them easily available in emergencies, or promoted the stability of neighborhoods anchored by wage-earners with steady jobs and incomes.