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Thursday, August 02, 2007

City Manager Out of Compliance With City Residency Requirements

Does it matter what city the Davis City Manager resides? That is a question the residents of Davis and the Davis City Council may have to deal with in the near future.

Regardless of the answer to that question however, the fact remains is that the current City Manager of the City of Davis has been out of compliance with a City Ordinance for nearly fourteen months that requires him to reside in the City of Davis while being employed as City Manager.

The City of Davis Municipal Code requires the City Manager to live in Davis.
2.03.010 Office created; appointment and qualifications.

There is hereby created the office of city manager. The city manager shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the city council he/she shall be chosen solely on the basis of his executive and administrative qualifications. At the time of appointment he/she need not be a resident of the city or state, but during his tenure of office shall reside within the city. (Ord. No. 379, § 1.)
Sources close to the situation vary in terms of City Manager Bill Emlen's intentions about moving to Davis. One source suggests that he never intended to move to Davis, the other that he was waiting until his son finished high school. Nevertheless he was hired with the provision that he move to Davis and he is still a resident of the City of Vacaville.

The Vanguard has received word that the City Council is aware of this ordinance and a majority of the members of the council remain largely unconcerned about the City Manager residing in another city perhaps for varying reasons.

I believe that there is a good reason to have such an ordinance on the books. The City Manager's policies go a long way toward shaping the City of Davis, and it only makes sense that the individual serving in that office be a resident of Davis, just as the elected members of the City Council have to reside in the City of Davis.

In fact, I think that all the city employees in management positions should reside within the city limits. I do not believe that "outsiders" should be making vital decisions about the quality of life in a given city.

Reasonable people perhaps could disagree on the utility of having the city manager and other key city employees living in the city, but the fact remains there is a law on the books and it is incumbent upon the city council to either follow that law or change that law.

One suggestion for the reluctance of at least one person on the council to enforce the law was that requiring the city manager to live within the city might be used as a reason for Mr. Emlen to receive a pay raise. Frankly if that is what it takes to get him to move to Davis, I think that is worth it. I think it is that important for the city manager to live in the city.

It is my view that the city council is extremely negligent for allowing this situation to go on as long as it has.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting