Councilman Tygard wants new Metro hires to live in Nashville

Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 6:42pm

With a 4 percent pay increase for city workers under consideration, At-large Metro Councilman Charlie Tygard plans to introduce legislation outlining a new mandate for newly hired Metro employees: that they reside in Davidson County.

“The proposed property tax hike is what really triggered it,” Tygard said, referring to the 53-cent increase to the property tax rate Mayor Karl Dean’s administration has put forth. Additional revenue would help bolster a $1.71 billion budget that includes a government-worker pay raise.

“If you’re going to ask for a raise and want the taxpayers to support that raise, then I want you to have some skin in the game,” Tygard told The City Paper Thursday.

The Tennessean first reported on the proposed ordinance, which Tygard said he plans to file formally before the next council meeting on June 5.

Metro, according to Tygard, had historically required its workforce to live in Davidson County until the mid-1990s. When the policy changed, Tygard was serving on the council as a district representative from Bellevue.

“I think now, when you look at the numbers, especially where we have over 50 percent of the fire department living out of the county, it’s time to revisit that issue,” Tygard said.

In recent days, Tygard said he distributed a spreadsheet to other council members detailing the number of out-of-county workers in each Metro department.

Nearly 55 percent of the Metro Nashville Fire Department’s employees live outside Davidson County. Thirty-five percent of the police department’s workforce resides outside the county. But at departments such as the Metro Action Commission, only 12 percent do.

Tygard said his proposed policy would only require newly hired Metro employees live within Davidson County’s boundaries. Current Metro workers would be unaffected.

“I was not willing to go the route of [establishing] a time period to move back into the county,” he said. “I think that’s too disruptive to families who have settled in.”

Opponents of Tygard’s bill might suggest that narrowing the workforce pool to Davidson County could limit the number of qualified applicants for a job. But Tygard dismissed the notion.

“Any time there are vacancies in any department, there are an ample number of potential employees applying for those slots,” Tygard said. “So, I don’t think attracting a qualified pool to fill coveted positions is going to be an issue.”

He said he would likely propose offering waivers to workers who need to live elsewhere for special circumstances. An example, he said, would be caretaking for a sick relative. Waivers, he said, could also be offered to employees in special fields if the city is unable to find qualified applicants who live in Nashville.

23 Comments on this post:

By: yogiman on 5/17/12 at 11:01

Why would you not want to live in the city that's paying you?

By: whitetrash on 5/18/12 at 4:24

Because the white firemen and white police officers do not want to send their white kids to school with black kids in Nashville. It is pretty sad because the firemen and police officers who choose to do this could really make a difference as role models in the public or private schools their children would attend in Davidson County.

By: NilsOrion on 5/18/12 at 5:28

I don't know how i feel about this issue. On the surface it seems fair enough. On the other hand, many of the people I know who work here but don't live here say that it's cheaper to live outside the county. I doubt the council would include a cost of living factor if it approved this measure. I do understand the reasoning behind this idea. For example, residents of Davidson County pay ALL the debt related to LP Field. A great deal of the ticket holders for this facility, however, live in Williamson County, so they enjoy the benefits of the facility without having to pay for them.

By: Rasputin72 on 5/18/12 at 5:47

99% of Metro employees cannot afford to live in Belle Meade, Hillwood and Green Hills. If a requirement that all new employees live in Davidson County is put into effect then you will probably wind up with a lot of employees who cannot read and write.

I give you the city of Birmingham Alabama as an example. This major southern city is broke. Guess what ran that city into bankruptcy.

By: rickmuz on 5/18/12 at 6:27

@Whitetrash: I can see from that comment why you chose such a screen name. I don;t see ANYTHING wrong with requiring ALL Metro employees to reside in the County that is paying them NOT JUST NEW HIRES!

By: whitetrash on 5/18/12 at 6:58

I was giving my opinion as to why I thought some Metro Employees were not living in Davidson County. I support the legislation requiring Metro Employees to live in Davidson County. I was answering the first person who posted question.

By: Moonglow1 on 5/18/12 at 7:27

Moonglow1: In many cities police, firefighters, and teachers cannot afford the high cost of housing thereby choose to live in outlying areas due to more affordable housing.

By: BigPapa on 5/18/12 at 7:40

Yeah, whitetrash speaks the truth.. and I would not say it's that they dont want their kids going to school with blacks, they dont want them in school with black kids from the ghetto- big difference.

I have mixed views on this. I hate the idea of someone not taking ownership in the community. On the other it's just a job, and like others have said, living in Nashville isn't cheap. Why shouldn't a guy be allowed to live on a farm in Robertson Co. but still work as a fireman or police officer in Nashville?

By: Melstruck on 5/18/12 at 7:43

I live in Davidson county and used to work for Metro. But after 3 years of no raises and talk of cutting benefits, I left Metro and now work in Wilson county.

Tygard's statement "if you're going to ask for a raise" is insulting. When Metro employees were hired, they were told they would be on a "step raise" program which guranteed certain raises (I don't agree with it, but it was a condtion of their employement - Metro's fault, not the employees). Those raises have been on hold for four years. You can't change the terms of employment and also expect to attract and keep workers. Employees are not asking for a raise, they are demanding what was promised to them when they were hired. I'm not guaranteed a raise in my new job, but through hard work, I got a raise. The supervisers in Metro have not been able to reward hard workers for 4 years, therefore, hard workers are leaving and the lazy workers are not incentivized to do anything different.

By: MusicCity615 on 5/18/12 at 7:44

I support this legislation, but I agree that there needs to be some sort of way to make the cost of living less expensive.

By: BigPapa on 5/18/12 at 7:51

"The supervisers in Metro have not been able to reward hard workers for 4 years, therefore, hard workers are leaving and the lazy workers are not incentivized to do anything different."
But you can feel good that Nashville spent $100M on ice hockey. Maybe Dean thinks you should work as a bartender or waiter. Those seem to be the type of jobs he wants for Nashville. He'd run through hell in gasoline underwear to bring in a few more bar tending jobs.

By: CitizenV on 5/18/12 at 8:18

Okay, so you're pushing for them to move to Davidson. Is it necessary to go online and make a big to-do about it? Just another PR tactic for Charlie Tygard to attempt to compensate for all of the bad publicity he's gotten lately for suspicion of funneling that $80,000 from Metro Parks & Recreation into his family's bank accounts and such. This blowhard is as crooked as they come and has zero credibility. Everything that exits his mouth is suspect.

By: Kosh III on 5/18/12 at 8:53

I disagree that housing is too expensive in Nashville, just certain neighborhoods .

There are lots of nice affordable homes in Donelson, Hermitage, Madison, Antioch, Scottsboro and Joelton for instance.

By: Kosh III on 5/18/12 at 8:55

btw I agree that they should live here in Metro.
The last time this issue came up, I had a conversation with a councillor who said that some areas were too "rough and tumble."
My response was that they wouldn't be so bad if the neighborhood had a cop or two living there.

By: pswindle on 5/18/12 at 9:07

We have been there and done that. It did not work the first time and it will not work now. You need the best workforce with the best skills, and sometimes you have to go out of Davidson County. I can't beleive that I ever voted for Tygard. What has happened to him? He has been making news lately and it seems that he is not the man that he used to be. He has turned soar and unreasonable.

By: Moonglow1 on 5/18/12 at 9:12

Moonglow1: Citizen V-thank you for the information on Tygard. He probably did funnel the $80k into his private account. This coupled with Banks (the Council 4 "John" guy who won't resign) leaves me without faith in our Metro Council. We need to vote carefully and ask honest people in our community to run for office so we have a choice.

By: Melstruck on 5/18/12 at 9:30

Dean says if he doesn't get the property tax increase he'll have to fire 150 cops (becuase, of course there are no other Metro employees that could be cut!). Tygard says if he doesn't pass the property tax increase, Metro employees won't get a raise for the 5th year in a row. Sounds like scare tactics.

Here's my prediction - all the council members who are up for re-election or running for another office will kick and scream and say we can't raise property taxes. But they don't have the numbers to truly fight it. There may be a compromise lowering it to $0.50 so that those council members can say they fought the tax increase and "won". And I bet this has all already been agreed upon....

By: Left-of-Local on 5/18/12 at 11:57

Public safety workers should live in and know the city. Cops. Firemen. Really, bus drivers, too.

Clerical/office/professionals? Hell no. The point of a METRO is to have a connected ecosystem of other places adjacent to it, making things mutually beneficial. As usual, Tygard is only about 30% right.

By: yogiman on 5/20/12 at 6:56


Segregation was "thrown out the door" in 1965. Whose idea is it to open that door to bring it back in? Wasn't it God that created all of us equally?

By: Ask01 on 5/20/12 at 8:04

There is a certain logic to be sure in the proposal.

For example, if a Metro employee knows his or her actions will directly affect his family, friends and neighbors, might they opt for an alternate course, or perhaps be more efficient?

This is not to say Metro employees do not give 100%, however, it is human nature, when one is directly impacted, to pay closer attention to detail.

I have long advocated elected, appointed, or hired government employees who control education, public health, or any other service should be required to use that service.

In short, anyone, for example, connected with the quality of public education should be required by law to send their children, and grandchildren to public schools. I wonder if their would ever again be any argument funding education? (I included grandchildren because of the possibility some may be beyond the child rearing stage.)

Likewise, congress should have their entire benefits package stripped and be forced to used the social security and medicare system in place for everyone else.

I wonder how long would pass before Social Security and Medicare would be repaired and fully funded to the end of time?

Just a thought.

Perhaps Councilman Tygard is not as daft as some would depict him.

By: yogiman on 5/20/12 at 11:09

I fully agree, Ask01. When Barry came out with his "great" obamacare plan and Nancy Pelosi told congress they must sign it before they read it so they could under stand what it meant made me wonder about that bunch.

Of course, congress said it was a good plan (even thought they hadn't read it) but they would "just" keep their own.

My question: By what authority does congress have to provide a different program for themselves above the common citiznes of this nation?

I wrote Alexander and Corker asking them that question. Guess what. I never received an answer. I just figured they didn't have one.

I then advised the to use the old KISS (keep it simploe stupid) program. Come into the program with the common citizens that put them in their office or bring the common sitizens intro their program. What was the essence of having two different programs? Still no answer.

By: gdiafante on 5/21/12 at 5:37

I understand both sides of the argument, but isn't this still America? Shouldn't people be free to work and live where they choose?

Imagine if Nissan's HQ required employees to live in Williamson County...

If you're an asset to Metro, residence shouldn't matter.

And even if employees don't live in Nashville, they work there, and spend money there. And my guess is that given a choice, they'd probably prefer living and working somewhere else. This could be a slippery slope for Metro.

By: govskeptic on 5/21/12 at 7:35

It's amazing how many of the top paid employees of Metro live outside
the county. Yes, it is a bit more expensive in Metro than "some" outside
counties, but that's partly to do with the salaries and benefits of the many
Metro and Schools system employees. A large number of Teachers
live outside the city and who can blame them if they have children!