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updated: 9/3/2014 9:54 AM

Elgin eases residency requirements for some staff members

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  • Elgin Fire Chief, John Fahy

      Elgin Fire Chief, John Fahy

 
 

Elgin's chief financial officer, along with other top-level city staff members, is no longer required to live in town.

The city council also lifted the requirement for the directors of human resources, information technology services, the water department, and the building maintenance superintendent.

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The move paved way for the search for a new CFO after the departure of Colleen Lavery in June, City Manager Sean Stegall said. The city signed a contract with a headhunting firm after the ordinance was approved last week.

"We were waiting on the council's decision before starting, being that was a fundamental component of our recruiting efforts," he said.

Councilman Rich Dunne and Councilwoman Tish Powell voted against the change.

"I think we pay them a very respectable wage, and I think for that wage they should be willing to live in town," Dunne said.

Lavery resigned because the city previously only allowed a five-year exemption to the residency rule and her deadline was approaching. She and her husband wanted to move closer to his work in River Forest, she said at the time.

Three top officials currently required to live in Elgin live just outside of town: Fire Chief John Fahy in West Dundee, Assistant Fire Chief Tim Maroder in Plato Center and Assistant Fire Chief David Schmidt in South Elgin.

Fahy's and Schmidt's five-year extensions run out in January 2016, while Maroder's runs out in 2019.

Under the new rules, the city manager can grant indefinite extensions, which Dunne also criticized. "(The city manager) only has to notify the council that he's waving it (the residency requirement)," he said.

Fahy pointed out residency requirements have changed a few times during the course of his 28 years of service in Elgin. When he first started, employees had to live within certain boundaries, including north of Route 64 and west of Route 53, he said.

Thirteen out of 20 nearby communities do not have residency requirements, including South Elgin, Naperville and St. Charles, city officials said.

Six towns require specific employees, such as the city manager, to live in town. Only Waukegan requires all city employees to live locally.

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