Appointments & Vacancies FAQ 5

Must an appointed municipal official be a resident of the municipality he or she serves?

In general, the answer is no, unless there is a statutory requirement that the appointed official be a resident of the municipality – e.g., Wis. Stat. §§ 30.37(3) [board of harbor commissioners], 27.11(1) [board of public land commissioners], and 43.54(1)(a) [library boards]. In the absence of such a statutory requirement, a non-resident may be appointed to a municipal office or position unless the city or village has adopted its own residency requirement for appointed officials. However, it is important to note that Wis. Stat. § 66.0502 prohibits municipalities from enacting employee residency requirements. In light of this prohibition, whether a local residency requirement is permissible likely turns on whether the appointed official is an “employee.” If an appointed person is an employee, § 66.0502 appears to preclude a local residency requirement.

In contrast to appointed municipal officials, all elected municipal officials must be residents of the municipality and alderpersons must be residents of the district from which they are elected. See Wis. Stat. §§ 61.19, 62.09(2)(a), and 17.03(4)(c).

A person appointed to fill a vacancy in an elective office must meet the residency qualification applicable to elective municipal officers. Wis. Stat.§ 17.28.

(rev. 3/19)