Share this article

print logo

RESIDENCY LAW LIKELY TO AFFECT HALF DOZEN

Only half a dozen of the 2,150 persons on the Niagara County payroll would be affected by a tougher residency law, a county official says.

Human Resources Director Frank G. Caputo listed 41 employees who seemingly violate the 1980 law requiring county workers to live in Niagara County.

The resolution, introduced July 1 by Legislator John S. Tylec, D-North Tonawanda, not only would require filling all openings with county residents, but also demand that all current employees regarded as exempt or unclassified under Civil Service laws to move into the county within 120 days.

If they didn't, they would be fired within two weeks.

But unionized workers are not exempt under Civil Service, so they would not be covered by the revised ordinance.

Most of the 41 non-resident employees are members of the Civil Service Employees Association.

A few belong to the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

Their job titles include speech pathologist, community health nurse, licensed practical nurse, welfare examiner, caseworker, bookkeeper and audiologist.

Most of the union workers live in Erie County, but four live in Orleans County, one in Genesee County and one in Canada.

Most such jobs are political patronage appointments or part-time posts, Caputo said.

But in those classifications, only seven non-county residents are on the payroll: a department head, one other full-time person and five part-timers, including one about to join one of the county's unions, Caputo said.

The department head -- Robert F. Harrington, administrator of Mount View Health Facility -- lives in Le Roy in Genesee County.

But the County Legislature waived the residency requirement before he was hired in 1991.

Claudia J. Kurtzworth, the other full-time employee, lives in Tonawanda.

But she received a waiver from the county Civil Service Commission before she was hired in January as a public health educator, Caputo said.

Tylec, who has complained of too many exceptions, said the original law makes no provision for such waivers.

His proposal would allow the County Legislature to grant waivers, but not for a particular job candidate.

Tylec said the waiver should be granted for a position only after "diligent and sincere efforts" to find a Niagara County resident for the job.

The waiver, he emphasized, must be granted before a person is found. In the past, the procedure has been reversed.

"There were some recent cases where department heads had taken some liberties" with the rules, Tylec said.

There are no comments - be the first to comment