SCHENECTADY — City Public Safety Commissioner Michael Eidens and city Chief Building Inspector Christopher Lunn were granted waivers from the city’s residency requirements on Thursday.
The decision to grant the waivers was unanimously approved by the city’s five-member Board of Residency. The waivers last for a year, McCarthy said.
The board is comprised of Mayor Gary McCarthy, Council members John Polimeni and Karen Zalewski-Wildzunas, city Clerk Chuck Thorne and county Assistant District Attorney Jessica Lorusso.
McCarthy, who was elected as chairman of the board on Thursday, brought forth the request for the waivers. He said he requested a waiver for Lunn, who was hired in September, because of issues he had after he signed a contract to purchase a home in the city. There were federal tax liens on the property that he was not aware of, McCarthy said, though he added the issue could soon be resolved.
Lunn was hired by McCarthy with the understanding he would move into the city within six months, as is required of all new city employees hired after 1988, under City Code.
“I made it clear to him that I wanted him to live in the city,” McCarthy said. “He hasn’t raised any objections.”
A request for a waiver for Eidens, who was hired in October, was for a different reason, McCarthy said.
After the death of former Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett in August, he wanted someone with comparable experience. He also cited a state Court of Appeals decision, which gave the city public safety commissioner the ability to discipline members of the Police and Fire departments.
Eidens, a resident of Glenville, served as Schenectady County Court Judge, as a judge in Glenville and Scotia and as a prosecutor in the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office.
So, Based on Eidens’ background and expertise, McCarthy said he offered Eidens the position knowing he’d be seeking the residency waiver.
“We were fortunate enough to have Eidens agree to take the position,” McCarthy said.
City Code does allow the mayor to ask for waiver for city employees based on two criteria: “The degree of specialization and professionalism required in any given field of employment,” or “the existence of hardship, such as may be determined by the board.”
The board only meets at the mayor’s request, McCarthy said. When asked when was the last time the board met, McCarthy said he wasn’t sure.