City Council Amends Residency Policy


Published on May 15 2019 2:57 pm
Last Updated on May 15 2019 2:57 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Effingham City Council Monday amended the city's residency policy for employees.

The policy has been changed many times through the years, by almost every City Council that takes office. As of this week, the only non law enforcement appointees covered by the policy were the police chief, fire chief, city administrator, director of public works and economic development director.

The Council vote Monday deleted the holders of those offices from having to live within the City limits.

A couple of Council members said the change enables the City to seek "the best and brightest" to hold those positions, regardless of where they lived. 

One member, Commissioner Hank Stephens, said he fought efforts to change the ordinance, but said it was so "watered down" now, he voted to support the change.

The policy now reads: "Individuals shall be recruited from a geographical area as wide as necessary to obtain qualified candidates for various types of positions."

There are a couple of stipulations; those employees required by state statute to reside within the City limits have to follow that guideline, and all emergency personnel shall be required to reside within 15 miles from the City corporate limits, unless a collective bargaining agreement states otherwise. Those emergency personnel include police officers, firefighters and telecommunicators.

New employees will have six months to comply with the guidelines.