Residency Requirement, Budget Powers Debated For City Administrator

Residency Requirement, Budget

Debated For  City Administrator

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Residency and the budget process were two of the strongly-debated topics as Common Council continues refining the City Manager role to a City Administrator.

“We’ve had so many issues with the last three city managers finding a place to stay, as well as issues with our housing stock, that we should allow the City Manager to live outside the city,” said Council member Dave Rissberger, Third Ward.

“When I moved here, I found a place on Goodyear Lake,” said Council member Mark Drnek, Eighth Ward. “But I spent a good amount of time in the city. A candidate might just want more space or something we don’t have here in the city.”

However, not everyone was on board with removing the requirement. “How do you have someone invested in the city if they don’t live here?” said Council member Len Carson, Fifth Ward.

“We’d be paying someone, and they’d be paying taxes in another district,” said Council member Scott Harrington, Sixth Ward. “They should reside in the city so they can better understand the needs of the residents.”

Mayor Gary Herzig said that Council has the power to wave the residency requirement for any department – such as police and firefighters, who are similarly required to reside locally – with a vote, and the language remained in the charter.

Council also wanted the City Administrator to work with the finance director, as well as Council, in preparing the annual city budget.

“I’m not comfortable with the budget being presented to Council two weeks before we have to vote on it,” said Herzig. “We want to expand the timeline.”

“I read a hundred descriptions of City Managers and Administrators and so many of them said ‘Shall advise council about city’s financial status and needs,” said Council member Kaytee Lipari Shue, Fourth Ward. “It’s a pulse check of where the city is and helps keep us in the loop.”

Herzig plans to draft new language and present to Council at their next meeting on Thursday, Oct. 29, where they will discuss how to conduct the City Manager search.


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