What Will Mayor Mitchell Do About Residency Law? [OPINION]
Mayor Jon Mitchell is being challenged by City Council President Linda Morad to make changes to the residency policy for City of New Bedford employees.
Councilor Morad doesn't like the way the Mitchell administration handles the residency requirement and the related waiver system. And she is threatening to abolish or attempt to abolish the requirement with a piece of legislation in the council.
The Standard-Times recently reported the challenge Morad issued to Mitchell on the city council floor: "If Mitchell doesn’t come forward and present something on residency waivers in the next two weeks, Morad said she will file a motion that removes the residency requirement for any employee in the city of New Bedford."
I have the highest level of respect for Councilor Morad as a city councilor and her ability to earn the votes of the residents and her fellow councilors. She knows her business and she has an incredible work ethic. She wouldn't put this challenge forward if she wasn't confident in her position.
But everyone makes mistakes and miscalculations, especially in politics.
Mayor Mitchell really has no reason to respond to the challenge at this time. He clearly sees merit in the waiver system and uses it regularly.
If he ignores Morad's challenge, she will have to place her ordinance to abolish the residency requirement to the city council and her motion will be subjected to a variety of votes and public discussions. She has the real potential of losing the vote if a group of city councilors decides to preserve the ordinance.
Mayor Mitchell can point to the fact that the ordinance has been in place about as long as he has been alive, but if the council wants to abolish it now, they can vote accordingly and he will deal with it. He has plenty of time to work on the matter as he is about to start a brand new four-year term in January.
And then there is the matter of the election of the next city council president, too.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.