The Covington City Council will not require its next city manager to live within the city limits.
While the council would prefer that a candidate live locally, it voted 3-2 to remove wording saying just that from a brochure being used in the search process.
Councilman Keith Dalton said the city needed to find the best person possible to fill the position, and he said such a person might need to live elsewhere, like Athens or Atlanta, because of special circumstances.
We agree that the council needs the best leader possible to run a diverse, $120 million business, but locally-based organizations, particularly local governments, have often viewed having a leader live locally as the best practice. If the next city manager chooses to live elsewhere, he or she will have a more difficult time getting to know and properly understand and appreciating Covington.
Obviously opinion differs locally, as Oxford will not expect its next city manager to live in the town, while Social Circle's school board put a clause in the contract of new Superintendent Todd McGhee requiring him to live in the city limits.
In addition to practical concerns, we also wonder if such a decision sends a message to prospective employees of not only Covington, but future businesses as well, that the council doesn't have confidence in its town's attractiveness.
Surely, Covington's array of amenities is not particularly impressive, but if somebody doesn't believe in a community enough to move there, why should that person be entrusted to lead a city forward?