Change to Schenectady residency requirement for city employment fails

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — If you want a job with the city of Schenectady you will still have to live within the boundaries of the Electric City after a proposed revision to the city’s residency requirement failed Monday evening.

With such a closed candidate pool of only city residents, dozens of jobs in departments like public works remain open. “We have 63 city openings currently. And one department has multiple, I mean double-digit openings,” explains Schenectady City Council President Marion Porterfield. “It’s clear that we need to widen our pool of potential employees. And this is not something that I think, this is something I’ve heard from department heads, from unions.” 

The proposal was brought back to the city council for a vote after Mayor Gary McCarthy vetoed the proposed revision to the city’s residency requirement law which was approved by a 5-2 vote on August 22.

“He vetoed it because he didn’t want to grandfather in employees who were currently working for the city and living outside the city. However, it was his decision to hire some of those employees so I’m not really clear on that,” says Porterfield.

Councilman John Polimeni was one of those two votes against the proposal primarily because he would like to see the candidate pool opened to more than just city and county residents. “You should just open it up to everybody. If you live in Rexford or Alplaus which is very close compared to some places in the county, why should those people be excluded.”  

The city of Schenectady has had a residency requirement since 1988 with some exceptions being made. Schenectady police officers and firefighters are exempt from the residency requirement. Councilman Polimeni says he expects the residency requirement to be revisited again in order to address the city’s several dozen vacancies.

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