City files challenge to law on residency


The city of Toledo filed a lawsuit yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to overturn a new state law that prohibits local governments from imposing a residency requirement as a condition of employment.

The complaint raises a challenge to legislation that Gov. Bob Taft signed on Jan. 27. The law invalidates local ordinances requiring residency for employees.

It is scheduled to go into effect Monday - 90 days after it was signed by the governor, said Adam Loukx, senior attorney for the city.

Other cities, including Cleveland and Youngstown, were planning to file similar actions in Common Pleas Courts in their counties, said Susan Cave, executive director of the Ohio Municipal League.

Ms. Cave said state lawmakers interfered with the constitutional rights of cities and towns in setting rules for residency requirements.

"These are employees of the city. They are not employees of the state. They are not employees of the county. The city does provide for its employees and makes regulations and laws governing them," she said.

About 125 cities and 13 villages have some sort of requirement for employees to live either within city limits or within a certain distance, such as in the city's home county, according to the Municipal League.

Toledo requires its employees to reside within the limits of the city. However, employees with 10 or more years of service may have the rule waived.

The complaint filed by Toledo asks Judge Frederick McDonald to stop the state law from being enforced until the issue can be resolved in court.

"We believe that the law is an encroachment on the city charter and provides an inevitable clash between Home Rule and the Ohio legislature," Mr. Loukx said.

Mark Anthony, a spokesman for Attorney General Jim Petro, whose office was named as a defendant, said he was unaware of the lawsuit.

"We will defend the constitutionality of the state law. It will be up to the court on whether it will be upheld," he said.