Residency policy adopted

Published 9:12 am Tuesday, March 12, 2013

WINDSOR – If you are serving Bertie County citizens in a newly hired position of management and drawing a salary off those taxpayers, you will be expected to reside in the county.

That’s the wish of the county’s Board of Commissioners who, after several months of debate, approved a Residency Policy for county employees at their meeting here last week.

The policy will require Bertie County local government employees serving in department, manager and director level positions (hired after March 4, 2013) to establish residency in the county within a period of 12 months and maintain it throughout their employment.

Proof of residency within the county will be determined through an address on the employee’s driver’s license, a voter registration card, copy of a residential lease, or the address on an income tax return, property tax bill or utilities bill.

The positions subject to this newly approved provision include the County Manager and Assistant County Manager as well as several department heads, to include the Economic Development Director, Emergency Management Coordinator, Social Services Director, Tax Administrator, Finance Director, Water System Manager, Information Systems Administrator, Building & Grounds Supervisor, Aging Director, Planning & Inspections Director, Veterans Services Officer, and Parks & Recreation Director.

The policy does not affect employees currently holding these county jobs. Of the aforementioned positions, four reside outside of Bertie County – Steve Biggs (Economic Development; lives in Chowan County), William Roberson (Finance Director; Martin County), Scott Pearce (Information Systems; Hertford County), and Milton Parker (Veterans Services; Hertford County).

However, if a current employee in a management/director position terminates employment with the county for any reason and is rehired in that position or similar position of management, that employee will be subject to this policy.

With this policy taking effect immediately, newly hired employees in departmental management positions or higher will be given 12 months (from their date of hire) to establish residency in Bertie County. This will apply to the new county manager, a position that will soon begin to be advertised on the heels of last month’s announcement by County Manager Morris Rascoe that he will retire effective March 31.

Employees found to be in non-compliance with the residency policy will be subject to disciplinary action, including immediate termination or discharge.

The commissioners had discussed the residency policy on several occasions last year. Commission Chairman Wallace Perry said at that time that one of the biggest complaints he had received from the county’s citizens were local government employees not living in the county.

Several variations of the policy were previously discussed, to include placing the timetable to move into the county at six months (instead of the adopted 12 months) as well as to possibly allow department heads to live within 50 miles of the county’s borders. There was also discussion dealing with the promotion of county employees, those currently not residing in Bertie, to positions of management.

After tabling the matter at several previous meetings, the commissioners finally adopted the revised policy at their March 4 meeting.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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