Catt. Co. To Vote On Residency Requirement

LITTLE VALLEY – Members of the Cattaraugus County Legislature recently voted unanimously to hear the public’s views on allowing county corrections officers to live in adjoining New York counties.

The public hearing, set for March 26 at 3:01 p.m. in the Legislative Chambers in Little Valley, will address concerns on the rule. Before a local law such as this is voted upon, New York state law requires two meetings and a public hearing, according to Cattaraugus County Administrator John R. “Jack” Searles.

According to the state’s Public Officers Law, a 600-page document, the default position of residency is that a corrections officer, or other public officer, must live in the municipality in which they reside, in this case, Cattaraugus County. A stipulation does exist, however, that allows the officers to live in adjoining municipalities, according to Searles.

“There is a stipulation in the law that does allow the employment of corrections officers who reside in counties geographically contiguous to Cattaraugus County if the legislature passes a local law that allows this,” Searles said.

The changes are being addressed to aid in recruitment of qualified candidates to hire as corrections officers in the county, Searles said. The changes will allow Cattaraugus County to look into Chautauqua, Erie and Allegany counties when a need exists.

Searles said this law specifically pertains to officers and not public employees.