As Gloversville looks for a new director for the Department of Public Works, some city officials have talked about whether the city should do away with the residency requirement for the job.
The city charter requires the DPW director to live in the city or move to the city after accepting the job.
However, not all city department officials have to live in the city. The finance commissioner, city clerk, deputy city clerk, city assessor and unpaid appointed members of boards and commissions don't have to live within the city, according to the charter. Several sitting city officials, such as the finance commissioner, live outside the city.
The DPW director has to have a combination of an engineering or field-related degree and construction experience. Eight years of construction experience could substitute for the engineering degree, but finding a qualified candidate for the labor-intensive job of DPW director isn't easy. The city would be in a better position to attract good candidates if the director had the flexibility of living inside or outside the city.
We suggest the city add the DPW director to the list of city officials who don't have to live in the city. To do this, the city would have to put the proposal to a public referendum.
The DPW director should live within Fulton County, since he or she must be able to get to the DPW garage or office on short notice, but we see no strong reason for the director to live in the city.
Gloversville has had a difficult time keeping DPW directors in recent years. City residency shouldn't be a determining factor. The city, which faces financial and economic challenges, has to be practical about how it selects people for roles in government.