"...authority to negotiate a deal with the various bargaining units and employees to give something back, like vacation time or longevity pay, in exchange for a waiver to live outside the city."
A waiver provision already exists:
§ 60-7. Waiver of requirements.
In the event the Mayor shall certify to the City Council that, after a reasonable recruitment period, he/she has been unable to fill a vacancy in any City position covered by this article by appointing a qualified resident of the City or a qualified nonresident who is prepared to become a resident within 90 days of his or her employment, then the Mayor may waive the residency requirements for said position on the grounds of "difficulty of recruitment." Such waiver shall apply to such specific appointment only as certified and waived by the Mayor.
So, is the administration once again funneling ethanol or is something else going on here? Of course, the two are not mutually exclusive.
Elected officials perceive residency requirements to be popular. That perception may or may not be correct. Based on anecdotal evidence they are correct. No one wants to abolish residency requirements, not for civilian employees and not for the police.
The mayor, however, lacks the intestinal fortitude to perform his duty and enforce the law. The resolution is his attempt to pass the buck onto the legislative branch which, as Council President Bauer points out, has already done it's job by enacting the police residency requirements. If the resolution were to pass, he could say, "Well, they've passed two residency laws, I guess they mean it this time. Now I have to fire people after November 1 because the legislature creates the laws and I enforce them...."
This portion of the resolution, giving the mayor the authority to cut deals on residency, should send a shiver down the spine of everyone with a spine. The part about negotiating with employees (as opposed to bargaining units) is particularly troublesome. Whether the mayor is a Republican or Democrat, the potential for abuse is glaringly obvious. It cannot be allowed to happen. Imagine what this regime would do with such power. Legalized intimidation is not recommended.
The answer to all this is clear. Enforce the residency requirements for city employees. As for the police, scrap the damn thing. If they can't do that for political reasons, repeal the law and the peal it, effective January 1, 2008. Grandfather and/or Grandmother everyone hired before that date. Make the new law clear. If you live outside Troy and you were hired before January 1, 2008, you don't have to live in Troy. If you do move to Troy, you're stuck here. Twenty years from now, the issue will be mostly moot. Forty years from now, we'll have complete mootness.
Good cops are going to do a good job in Troy, no matter where they live. Living in Troy isn't going to make a lazy cop a good cop.