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Voters favor repeal of residency rule

Nov. 06, 2012 @ 11:55 PM

HUNTINGTON — A City Charter amendment requiring city workers to live in Huntington was repealed, according to unofficial election returns.

With all 40 city precincts reporting late Tuesday, votes to repeal the residency requirement totaled 6,012, compared to 5,913 votes to uphold it.

City officials and two unions voiced their opposition to the requirement, saying Huntington is surrounded by bedroom communities and that forcing employees to live in the city restricts its ability to hire the best employees.

City employees hired after Oct. 23, 2009, were required to provide proof of residency in Huntington within 90 days of being hired. A lawsuit settlement in 2009 exempted workers hired earlier from the requirement.

International Association of Firefighters Local 289 and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 598 also supported repealing the requirement. Representatives say it diminishes the hiring pool and that the 90-day deadline to move into the city is unrealistic.

Two other City Charter provisions were soundly upheld Tuesday. They include a requirement that the public works director be a licensed professional engineer and that the city maintain a central garage for vehicles. The latter charter provision has never been implemented, primarily because the city has never owned property large enough to maintain a central garage.