Friday, July 25, 2014

Proposal: employees must reside in county

February 19. 2013 7:24PM
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LACKAWANNA COUNTY- Lackawanna County Commissioner Patrick O'Malley introduced on Nov. 14 a resolution that, if adopted, will require all non -union employees of the county to be residents of the county.

According to a press release from the commissioner's office, there are a total of about 50 county employees who live outside those boundaries.

The effect of this residency resolution will lead to additional real estate taxes, the release states. The income generated by the monies will be spent in our county to businesses, and in turn will help our economy.

O'Malley explained he feels the economy will grow as a result of the little things: workers stopping for coffee, cigarettes or gas on the way to work and buying their groceries at in-county stores.

He said although the proposed resolution is only in its early stages at this point, his hope is that it will be finalized and voted on sometime between now and January. He said he is following up a part of his campaign platform and it is important to him.

He said he would like to eventually bring it into union contract negotiations.

Although O'Malley is unsure at this time whether the resolution will affect current employees who live out of county, or only those hired in the future, he said his plan is to give those hired in the future six months after starting the job to move into the county. He said if it does include current workers, they will likely have one year to relocate.

According to Douglas Hill, executive director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, such a resolution is not uncommon or unusual both at the county and local municipal levels. He said, however, it is much easier to carry out countywide.

Hill explained the common reasoning behind it is that an individual working for the citizens in a county should know the citizens, understand the issues and be involved in the county. He added that some believe those being paid out of the county's tax funds should be county taxpayers.

O'Malley echoed these sentiments. He believes living in the county makes a county worker a better citizen in the community.

In the big scheme of things, he said, I think it's a plus…The area that you live in is the area that you're concerned about.

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