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Village hopes to repeal residency mandate for staff

October 11, 2013

LAKE PLACID - Village officials hope to repeal a requirement that village employees have to live in the village.

The village board has been struggling with its current residency law, put in place in 1982. At Monday night's board meeting, village Mayor Craig Randall said that since that law was passed, only about 65 percent of village employees have lived in village limits.

"It was intended to set something in place that just hasn't worked," said Mayor Craig Randall.

Village Attorney Janet Bliss recommended that the board repeal the existing law. Residency requirements would still be in place in some cases: State law requires that certain employees like the mayor, trustees, the clerk and the treasurer live in the village, and some of the village's union contracts also require it. But every other position at that point would be up to the village's discretion, Bliss said.

"You'd have everything you have now, except you wouldn't be hamstrung by the requirement that any applicant have to be a village resident," Bliss told the board.

Later, if board members decide that some positions require an employee to live within the village - board members mentioned jobs like head of the police or the Department of Public Works - they could enact a new law creating that requirement. Or they could decide it on a case-by-case basis, Bliss said.

Trustee Jason Leon said he'd like to see specific positions set out at the same time as the original law is repealed. Trustee Scott Monroe said he would like to as well, but he said it would be quicker to get rid of the old law and work on it from there.

Trustees noted that they all prefer the idea of hiring locally, but it's not always possible. Trustee Art Devlin said that in 1982, there were fewer vacation homes and rentals and rentals. Now there are fewer year-round residents in the village to dip into for the pool of employees, he said.

Monroe asked if the village could institute some kind of requirement that an employee live within a certain radius from the town hall, but Bliss said that would likely be open to attack in court as arbitrary and capricious.

The process to repeal the law will be the same as is normally used to pass one. The village board will need to introduce a local law that would repeal the 1982 statute, then hold a public hearing.

After that, it can act on the repeal law.

Bliss said she will try to have everything ready to hold the hearing at the board's next regular meeting, scheduled for Monday, Oct. 21, but she said it may require a special meeting later instead.

Trustees said they hope to get feedback at the hearing as to which positions the public thinks should have a residency requirement attached.

Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or jcollier@



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