The first step to repeal a management residency requirement is on Tuesday’s Luzerne County Council agenda.
Implemented a year ago, the ordinance requires the top manager, eight division heads, prison deputy warden, sheriff and heads of emergency management and 911 to establish residency in the county within six months of their hiring.
Council is set to vote Tuesday on introducing an ordinance repealing the requirement, which is necessary to advance the matter to a final passage decision at a future meeting. At least four of 11 council votes are needed to introduce ordinances. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the county courthouse in Wilkes-Barre.
County Councilman Rick Williams, who spearheaded the push to repeal the rule, said during a recent work session that top-ranked applicants who live across the county border should not be automatically disqualified due to residency.
“Clearly, we need to balance the need to provide opportunities for Luzerne County residents and at the same time provide the best personnel to staff our county government,” Williams said.
Linda McClosky Houck, council chairwoman, said the main reason she’s heard for keeping a residency requirement is to favor qualified county residents. But she believes the policy says something else as well.
“If you say that we will only then hire people who already live in Luzerne County, what you’re doing is saying that you don’t think that Luzerne County people are competitive with people from outside the area,” McClosky Houck said. “So you’re actually saying two things.”
County Manager C. David Pedri has supported eliminating the requirement, arguing the pool of prospective applicants should not be limited in “any way, shape or form.” He stressed all positions impacted by the requirement are filled by qualified county residents, adding the county is “lucky to have them.”
In other business, council is scheduled to discuss a proposed confidential settlement of…