YOUNGSTOWN — Mayor Jay Williams says he’s “furious” city council had to approve legislation requiring all city employees to live in Mahoning County or an adjacent Ohio county.
Williams isn’t angry at council. In fact, he 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.
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.
That’s what council did Wednesday.
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 farther away from Youngstown than Mahoning or an adjacent Ohio county, Williams said. “It would have shown how bad this decision is.”
But the city needs to be practical about the state law guidelines, so council passed the bill, Williams said.
Williams calls the state policy “a slap in the face to self-governance.”
The legislation would have been in front of council sooner if a regular meeting were held this summer, said city Law Director Iris Torres Guglucello. Council met only twice since the Supreme Court decision: once less than two weeks after the court decision and a special meeting last month.
Williams said he knows of no city employee living in Youngstown who’s moved elsewhere since the court ruling. But that’s not by choice, he said.
“I’ve seen ‘for-sale’ signs in employees’ yards,” Williams said. “No one in this area is able to sell their house at this time. ”
Cicero Davis, president of a labor union that represents about 90 city workers, said he and his union membership have no objection to council’s vote.
David Cook, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 312, which represents Youngstown’s firefighters, also has no objection to the restriction.
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