Lets take a look at who has to live where under the residency ordinances.
First, The Code:
§ 60-5. General requirement. All employees of the City of Troy, except those expressly exempt by the Public Officers Law of the State of New York, shall be residents of the City of Troy at the time of their employment or shall become residents within 90 days after their employment and shall remain residents of the City of Troy as a condition of their continued employment. Except as hereinafter provided, any employee of the City who does not comply with the mandatory residency requirements of this article shall be subject to immediate termination by the Mayor.
It could be argued that an employee who does not reside in the City of Troy must be terminated by the mayor. The wording is "shall be subject to"....not "may be subject to"....
Of course, to even potentially fall under the Public Officers Exemption on must be a Public Officer. There, employees must be residents of Troy. Except:
§ 60-6. Exceptions. The residency provisions of this article shall not apply to any City employee who is employed by the City on the date of the adoption of this article, but shall apply to persons whose employment with the City of Troy commences after the date of adoption of this article, except those persons expressly exempted by the Public Officers Law of the State of New York.
§ 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.
An initial question must be: Has the current Mayor gone through this certification process for any current employee. If not, the Waiver does not come into play. We know that some of our public officers probably should be certified.
PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW
The applicable provision can be found in Art III, Sec. 30, sub 6. Essentially, the residency requirements do not apply to Public Officers (except the City Manager), if those officers reside in Rensselaer County.
So, employees must reside in the city unless there is a waiver and Public Officers must reside in the County.*
The City is also empowered to maintain an action to enjoin violations of City Ordinances:
§ C-41. Actions to restrain violations. The City may maintain an action to restrain by injunction the violation of any City ordinance, notwithstanding that such ordinance may provide a penalty for such violation.
Finally, the issue involving the Police Department.
§ 79-4. Residency requirement for members of Police Department. [Added 12-22-1995] The City Council believes that it would benefit the citizens of Troy if the members of the Troy Police Department resided within the City limits. Therefore, the police officers of the Troy Police Department are hereby required to reside within the Troy City limits. This provision shall take effect immediately, except that it shall not apply to any current police officer of the Police Department who currently resides outside the City limits.
One could read this as prohibiting Police Officers hired prior to 1995 from leaving the city to reside elsewhere as well as new hires having to reside in Troy.
This legislation was challenged in Troy Police Benevolent and Protective Association Inc. v. City of Troy, 299 AD2d 710 (2002). Robert Hayden was reappointed to the police department in 1997, while residing in Troy. Thereafter, he purchased a home in Pittstown. An assistant chief advised Hayden that he was required to live in Troy and that any failure to abide by the requirement "may ultimately result in dismissal from service."Mayor Pattison had also instituted a practice requiring officers subject to the law to sign a form attesting to any change in their residences.
This situation is ripe for disaster (and not the good kind). All it takes is one crazy taxpayer and an Aretakian attorney and he/she** could turn a lot of lives upside down. Our solution is simple: Repeal the law mandating that police officers live in the city. Then, pass a less ambiguous law mandating that all new hires, from the date of passage, must reside in the city. Allow anyone hired before that date to live wherever they would like.
We do not like residency laws applied to police or firefighters. It's the local municiplaity version of jingoism. However, we appear to be in the minority and the above suggestion would be a good compromise.
In any event, if residency requirements are going to be enforced, start at the top, not with rank and file police officers. Make sure the Corporation Counsel, the City Assessor etc., reside in Troy.
As for Spargo,*** we believe his position makes him an employee rather than an officer. However, the administration claims he's covered by Public Officers Law. So be it. He should get his ass to Rensselaer County or be fired. There's no waiver in the Public Officers Law like there is for City employees.
And hey! Lets be careful out there.
* Ironically, Crawley moved to Troy but didn't have to. It worked out well for Brunswick. They received two players to be named later.
** This is not to imply that Aretakis is a He-She or She-Male. Please don't sue us.
***Spargo is a great example. When he shook down attorneys in the Third Judicial District he had to reside within the Third Judicial District. If he's going to shake down people in Troy, he should live in Troy.