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Should some York employees be required to live in city? Council again delays a vote

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
York City Fire Chief Chad Deardorff during the swearing in of York City Fire & Rescue fire officers Capt. Adam Smith, who will serve as Assistant Chief, and Capt. Kevin Pflaum, both assigned to B Platoon, at City Hall in York City, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

For the second time in a month, York City Council on Tuesday punted on an issue related to the city's employee residency requirement.

A vote was slated to take place on whether to waive the residency requirement for York City Fire Chief Chad Deardorff. The council instead voted to delay the vote and will now discuss the matter at its Jan. 29 committee meeting. 

No votes are recorded at such meetings.

More:York City Council punts on residency requirement change, plans town hall

If passed, the waiver would be the second of its kind for Deardorff. In February 2019, the council voted to waive his residency requirement for one year before he officially took over later that month.

All department heads, under city policy, must reside in the city. But the chief, who lives in West Manchester Township, said he still only lives a few minutes away and, more importantly, doesn't want to put stress on his family.

“My kids grew up in this house, and they’re stable,” Deardorff said. “I really don’t want to put undue stress on them by moving. My family has sacrificed a lot for my career. And I just can’t uproot my children.”

York City Mayor Michael Helfrich agreed, saying that Deardorff has been a loyal city employee — he has worked in the fire department for nearly 25 years — and Helfrich doesn't think it's necessary to force him to move and relocate his family.

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The pending vote on a waiver for Deardorff comes about a month after the City Council delayed a vote on loosening the residency requirement for all of its nonunion workers.

The proposed legislation would allow the city's 97 nonunion employees to live anywhere in York County or in seven surrounding counties.

If the legislation passes, employees would be able to live in neighboring Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin and Lancaster counties as well as in Harford, Baltimore and Carroll counties in Maryland.

At Tuesday's meeting, the City Council announced it will hold a town hall meeting to discuss the measure at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, at Logos Academy.

Nixon has said the legislation prompted public concern, with some residents arguing that it is best to ensure that those who work in the city also live there.

Other residents, he said, told the council that any restrictions on where a city worker must live could prevent the municipality from hiring the most qualified candidates.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.