City Council eliminates residency requirement for department heads

BLACKFOOT — The Blackfoot City Council eliminated a section of its personnel policy that requires all department heads to live within the city limits. The decision was made at the City Council meeting Tuesday night.
The policy, which required all new appointed department heads to live within the city limits or move within the city limits within six months of hire, was eliminated. The section of the policy requiring all on-call city employees to live within five miles of the city limits remains. This applies to police, fire and certain water, sewer and street personnel.
"We have a number of department heads who live outside the city," Mayor Mike Virtue said.
In reviewing neighboring city's policies, Virtue said Idaho Falls, Shelley, Pocatello, Rexburg, Ammon and Burley do not have residency requirements for department heads.
Councilman Chris Jensen said he looked at the policy before and didn't find many cities with a residency requirement. He said it also makes it difficult to hire qualified individuals for certain positions.
The council unanimously voted to remove the paragraph in the policy manual, but City Attorney Dan Acevedo said they may need to revise city code as well.
Also at the meeting, Jensen said he has been working with the Grove City Ditch to help identify ditch lines and resolve a few issues between the ditch company and the City of Blackfoot. The Grove City Ditch services approximately 65 property owners on the east side of Blackfoot, Jensen said.
The council also approved a transfer of an alcohol license to Tommy Vaughn's. Tommy Vaughn's will be a new restaurant in Blackfoot at the former location of PBG's. It is expected to open in October.