The Troy City Council will hold a rare weekend meeting 10 a.m. Saturday at City Hall. The topic is the passage of a Home Rule Message to send to the State Legislature asking to end an exemption for appointed public officers from living in the city.
The move comes from the Republican majority. Requiring city employees to live in town has been a topic for some. There are exemptions such as the supporting memo for the resolution notes for firefighters and police officers. The supporting memo for the council resolution notes that the State Legislature’s session is anticipated to end June 16.
The Memo in Support states:
It is noteworthy that in 1984, local law 4 of 1984, the city passed a local law requiring non-public officers (employees) to be residents of Troy. It certainly makes no sense to allow top policy makers in our city to be non-residents while the average city employee must be a resident.
Of course it makes sense to allow top policy makers a residency exemption. Ideally, top policy makers, Corporation Counsel for instance, are professionals with (hopefully) a unique skill set. By requiring them to live in the city shrinks the pool of available talent willing to take the position.
There are many skilled, private sector attorneys in Troy. How many are willing to take a job that pays less than $100,000 a year? Do we want a private sector attorney who isn't making much more than the Corporation Counsel salary? Then, even if they wouldn't mind living in Troy, moving is a huge hassle.
When a true professional is hired, they take their job seriously no matter where they may happen to reside. To believe that an Albany attorney would not be as good a Corporation Counsel as one that lives in Troy is typical of the small-town provincialism that holds cities back.
We realize where on an island on this one but residency requirements are an old and tired way of doing business. We understand the arguments for residency requirements and they are not without some limited merit. We'd do away with all of them if we could. Either you care about doing the best job possible or you don't, that is unaffected by your residence.
Is a lazy city worker any less lazy if he or she lives in Troy as opposed to Watervliet? Is a poor Corporation Counsel from Saratoga County going to be better if he or she moves to Troy?
Like we said, we're probably alone on this one. Residency requirements are quite popular amongst the villagers and peasants. It distracts from the real problems at hand. It is certainly not worth a special Saturday meeting. Hopefully, the measure won't get through the legislature.
Go ahead, have at it.