By Harold McNeil


Attendance was sparse early Friday for a public hearing on a newly adopted law that requires Erie County workers to reside in the county.

Two residents, both of whom also work for the county, spoke during the brief hearing, which was held in the county executive’s conference room on the 14th floor of the Edward A. Rath County Office Building.

One of the workers, Linda Scribner, described the new law as ambiguous because it allows current workers who live outside the county to remain on the payroll, but does not specifically address what happens if a current worker who lives in the county now seeks to move out later. She also questioned whether future Erie County Medical Center workers are exempt from the rule.

“There aren’t residency requirements for exams there if you look on the Erie County website,” Scribner said.

The law’s sponsor, Legislator Joseph Lorigo, C-West Seneca, said he has heard from several people who support the residency rule.

“They agree that, when employees live in the community they work, they provide better service. And they also believe if public employees are collecting taxpayer dollars, they should be contributing to the same tax base,” Lorigo said.

“So, I hope that the county executive will keep his word that if it passes the Legislature, he will sign it into law, and I anticipate that happening in the next few weeks,” Lorigo added.

The Legislature, at its May 23 meeting, approved the measure by a 6-5 vote, which means County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz could veto the new rule which, if he does not, has to be signed into law by June 23.