Clarification on residency requirement in wake of Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision
Joint statement from Common Council President Michael J. Murphy and Mayor Tom Barrett
On July 21, 2015, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals rightfully issued a unanimous decision upholding the City of Milwaukee’s 75-year-old residency ordinance. The ordinance requires all city employees to become residents of the city within 6 months of hire, and to remain residents as a condition of being employed by the city. The Court’s decision held that under the Home Rule Amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution, the City of Milwaukee is entitled to enforce the ordinance in spite of a state statute enacted in June, 2013 to the contrary.
The City of Milwaukee is committed to continuing its residency rule. However, in consideration of uncertainty during the time it may take to know whether the Wisconsin Supreme Court will review the case, the City has agreed to continue to suspend enforcement of the ordinance. The City will fully enforce the ordinance once the Supreme Court either refuses review or affirms the Court of Appeals’ well-founded opinion. Employees who disregard the ordinance do so at their own risk.