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Firefighters union head Mitchell supports ending public employee residency rule


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The head of a state firefighters’ union supports Governor Scott Walker’s budget measure that would end residency requirements for public employees.

Mahlon Mitchell ran against part of the Walker ticket in last year’s recall election, as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor.

He and two other union members wrote the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, saying that all firefighters should have the freedom to live where they choose.

Milwaukee is among the places that require its public employees to live in the city. Milwaukee’s police and fire unions have also urged lawmakers to approve the end of residency requirements statewide – and the Wisconsin Professional Police Association supports the move as well.

Top local officials oppose the measure, saying cities should have the choice. The League of Wisconsin Municipalities has urged lawmakers to reject Walker’s plan. Some officials say it discourages people from applying for public jobs.

But Mike Tobin of Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission says the city’s residency rule has not deterred anyone from applying.