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Mayor furious over council vote forced by state

Published: Wed, September 16, 2009 @ 10:06 p.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — Mayor Jay Williams said he’s “furious” that city council had to approve legislation requiring all city employees to live in Mahoning County or an Ohio county adjacent to it.

Williams isn’t angry at members of council for today’s vote. In fact, Williams sponsored the legislation.

He remains upset that the state Legislature passed a law in 2006 that overturned laws in various cities, including Youngstown, requiring city employees to live in the municipality in which they work and that the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the state law this past June.

While the Legislature stripped cities of the power to require their employees to live within their corporate limits, the law still allows cities to require their workers to live in the home county or one adjacent to it.

But each city’s council has to pass an ordinance with the county restriction for it to take effect.

“We had the option to do nothing at all or to restrict,” Williams said after the vote. “It’s the lesser of two evils. ... It was one evil choice over another evil choice.”

Williams and city labor union officials say they know of no city worker who lives outside Mahoning County or an Ohio county adjacent to it.

“Maybe we should have done nothing so some employees would have taken it too far” and moved even further away from Youngstown than Mahoning or an adjacent Ohio county, Williams said. “It would have shown how bad this decision is.”

For the complete story, read Thursday’s Vindicator or Vindy.com

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