New executive level staff members in North Las Vegas will be required to live in the city.
The City Council on Wednesday adopted residency requirements for those staff members, including department directors and assistant department directors, saying such a policy will foster more ownership in the community among employees.
"There is a huge disconnect between some of the employees and the city, and that really bothers me," Councilwoman Anita Wood said.
Any new executives will be required to move to the city within 60 days of their hire date, unless they get a waiver. The city manager will be able to grant waivers in cases where moving to North Las Vegas would create a financial hardship for new employees, such as when they would have to sell their homes at a loss.
Current employees who do not live in North Las Vegas will not be required to move there.
Wood said she has had city employees "tell me that we shouldn't open parks for our kids ... knowing it's because their kids don't live in North Las Vegas. If their kids did, they would know what a sacrifice that is."
Councilman Richard Cherchio said some current city supervisors live as far away as Southern Utah.
"We're not looking to hurt anybody," Cherchio said. "But we need people to get on board in the future."
Councilman Robert Eliason cast the lone vote against the requirements, saying he wanted more time to think about the clause that exempts current employees. Eliason said he supports residency requirements for city executives.
Councilman William Robinson was absent.
Employees who live in the city where they work can more quickly respond in an emergency and tend to be more vested in their community, said Joyce Lira, the city's director of human resources. But residency requirements can hurt the city's ability to recruit top-notch employees who many not want to move to the city, she said.
Henderson is the only other local government that has a residency requirement for its executive level staff members.
That city's requirement has been in place since 1967, although waivers often are granted by the City Council to employees who can demonstrate a financial hardship or who are promoted into top management jobs.
Henderson spokesman Bud Cranor said none of the city's executive-level staff members lives outside the Las Vegas Valley.
Review-Journal writer Henry Brean contributed to this report. Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0285.