|Scott Parsons sponsored residency ordinance|
By a 5-4 vote, Northampton County Council voted last night to require all cabinet level officials, as well as row officers, to reside within the County. This ordinance is prospective, meaning it has no application to current appointees. It also gives future out-of-county hires a year to find a home in the County.
Leading the charge for the residency requirement was Lamont McClure, who spoke three times in support of the ordinance. "The people who govern you ought to be your neighbors," he reasoned. Scott Parsons believes its omission from the Home Rule Charter was an "oversight" on the part of framers.
But Seth Vaughn countered that it is "overbureaucratic [sic] nonsense" that creates "more of a headache for the Executive." Hayden Phillips added that it "needlessly limits the pool of talent." and points to recently hired Sheriff David Dalrymple, a New Jersey resident, as an example.
Peg Ferraro pointed to the political reality that most cabinet level officials come and go with the Executive, and few will want to move into a job that might only last four years. I strongly believe we have an excellent system in place," she reasoned.
Republican Mat Benol claimed to have always supported a residency requirement. Ironically, it is Benol who argued in July that Council should confirm David Dalrymple as Sheriff despite his New Jersey residency. At that time, he had noted that Dalrymple only lived five miles from the courthouse.
Benol provided the swing vote that all four Democrats needed to pass the ordinance. The remaining four Republicans were opposed.
Will Executive Brown will veto the ordinance?. He appears to be thinking about it. "We are currently evaluating the impact this change will have on the county," Brown states in a prepared statement. "We are also evaluating all of our options to determine what is the best course of action for the county moving forward."
If he does veto, six votes will be needed to override it.