Fulton Residents, Common Council Discuss City Official Residency Requirements

Man stands at microphone
Dave Miner discusses resolution during the public hearing. Photo by: Kassadee Paulo

FULTON – As part of the Fulton Common Council meeting last night, Tuesday, Nov. 19, the public and the council discussed amending the city charter regarding residency requirements for those in city offices. 

Currently, the city charter states “no person shall be elected or appointed to any City office, other than City Engineer and City Attorney, unless he shall at the time be a resident elector of said city…” 

The council proposed to change the wording of this subsection to include city engineer, city attorney, commissioner of public work, chief of police, deputy chief of police, city clerk chamberlain, deputy city clerk chamberlain and assistant city clerk chamberlain. All other elected city officials must live within the Fulton city limits. 

During the public hearing, Frank Castiglia, resident of Fulton and county legislator, said he disagrees with this change and believes that the people who work for Fulton and whose paycheck is paid for by the taxpayers of Fulton, should also be required to live in the city limits and contribute to its taxes.

“For years we’ve always been proud of the people that work for us live in our city,” Castiglia said. “I think if people want to work for our city and collect our tax dollars from our city, I think they should be required to live within our city; it’s like kind of plain and simple.”

He said on a county level, the position of sheriff’s deputies residency requirement came into question, and he advocated to have them be required to live within Oswego county. 

They are eligible to apply if they live in another county, but they are required to move to Oswego county if they accept the position. Castiglia said he thinks the same practice should be put in place for the city of Fulton.

Dan O’Brien, city clerk/chamberlain, said within the 30 years he has worked for the city, he has seen people who do not live in the county but care deeply for the city of Fulton.

“I would hate to think we would even not consider somebody who didn’t even live in the city, in the county, live in another county, who came in with great ethic, a lot of knowledge, and really a compassion for the city of Fulton,” O’Brien said. “I’m saying that as a taxpayer.”

 Dave Miner, who is part of the fire and police commission and the Fulton housing authority, also gave his opinion during the public hearing. 

Miner said it is hard to fill certain positions when it is restricted to those who live in the city, however, he recommended to change the wording that there should be a limit that they should live within the Fulton school district or Oswego county.

Frank Schmiegle, a city resident since April, said he would rather have the “cream of the crop” when it comes to city officials and does not care where they live. He said there is often a reason why someone lives in a specific town or city, such as a family connection.

“We don’t have the right to dictate to a quality person where they can live,” Schmiegle said. “It’s nice to say live in the town, but let’s be realistic. There are reasons people live where they live. And I don’t think you should limit what we can get by saying they gotta live in Fulton.”

Fulton resident Dave Webber agreed the residency requirements should be extended, but only as far as Oswego county. 

“I think the county is big enough, you can get plenty of qualified people from Oswego county,” Webber said.

The council then closed the public hearing, but did not vote on the resolution. They decided to table it until the next meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 3 when there will be another public hearing on the matter. 

7 Comments

  1. When its covenant for your benefit you seem to be able to change the wording in the Charter to help your cause. You make it sound like there are no one in our area that’s smart enough to have these positions. Yes they should live in our school district, and our city. If they want these jobs they should be here paying taxes like the rest of the homeowners here. As it’s been said enough around here buy locally and live locally. Isnt that your moto.
    As for the gentleman who just moved here in April.His theory is who ever is qualified take them!!!!! I dont think so. There are more than enough people that are qualified here in are area.
    It boils down you will do what yever you want. Like I said before if you want that Charter changed you will do it because it will benefit you.That is the way this city has run since I was kid and it will never change no matter what is said.

  2. The fire chief has not lived in Fulton for years. He should be a city resident. Our taxes pay his salary.

  3. Theres no need to change the city charter. Recruit and hire from avavailable talent! Then, as a condition of employment, they need to reside in the city. If the candidate wants to avail themselves of a taxpayer funded, city paycheck then they should participate in funding the city/school taxrolls, and spend some of that money into the local economy as well as benefit Fulton real estate. Fairly basic concept. Its good for everyone involved. Should this really even need to be discussed ???

  4. At the Tuesday night meeting you tabled the city residency requirements to December 3rd. Then you turn around and have a special meeting on Wednesday. The general public was not aware of this and question whether it is a legal meeting. Perhaps they are trying to get someone who is not a city resident and already picked to fill a position. I believe that most all of the positions are civil service positions and if so they have to be in one the top positions on the list to be hired.

  5. 5th ward resident- I believe that you are correct, they pulled a fast one with a special meeting to approve. Rumor has it that they want to appoint a new chief of police this week and the one they have in mind DOES NOT live in the city. What about the men and women on the force who took the test and live in the city and are more than qualified? They will be over looked, due to the sneaky politicians we have in this city that go behind the tax paying residents back to approve such BS. We have plenty of qualified individuals that live in this city to be appointed to city jobs. Going outside the city limits is only to benefit those involved. With that being said….I say why stop at the appointed positions? Let’s shoot for the elected positions too…..I’m sure that we could find more capable council men/women that could do a better job than what we have now that would do a great job for the city of Fulton.

  6. There certainly was a fast one pulled on the people of Fulton. After the issue of residency was tabled until the 12/3 common council meeting, the chamberlain and council had a secret meeting the next morning, which they deemed as “emergency”, with no public notification. The issue voted on was not an “emergency” and even if it was, they needed to provide 24 hours notice of meeting. The council then voted how they wanted – with no public input- to change the charter so a person that lives outside the city could be hired into a position they wanted filled before the new administration came in. And they are pushing for other positions to be filled this way as well. Stand up for what is right by calling you council members and telling them, including the president of the council, this was shady and wrong. How embarrassing for our great city.

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