Council to vote on new residency policy for city employees

Prince Albert City Hall/Daily Herald File Photo

Prince Albert city council is set to vote on a new residency policy that would require new city employees to live inside city limits.Positions affected by the proposal include the City Manager, City Solicitor, City Clerk, all municipal director positions, and the Fire Chief, Deputy Fire Chief and Battalion Fire Chief positions with the Prince Albert Fire Department.

Employees currently occupying those positions will be exempt from the new rules. All current out-of-scope City employees in casual, term or temporary positions are also exempt.

The policy will not affect the Prince Albert Police Department because the Board of Police Commissioners governs their residency requirements.

If approved, the anyone hired for a permanent out-of-scope (i.e. not unionized) position would have six months to move within Prince Albert’s municipal boundaries. Employees will be fired if they cannot meet that requirement.The policy doesn’t apply to new or existing in-scope employees

.“The purpose of this residency policy is to establish stronger relations between employees, residents and the communities in which they work and protect y having employees reside within city municipal boundaries,” reads a report from Corporate Services Director Ken Leclaire.

“Currently there is no Residency Policy or guidelines requiring employees to maintain their permanent residence within the municipal boundaries of Prince Albert while being employed by the City.

”The City already has a Moving Expense Policy that reimburses new city employees who move to Prince Albert. The policy is designed to help attract qualified applicants to take jobs with the City, according to Leclaire’s report.Under that policy, department heads are reimbursed up to $10,000 for moving to Prince Albert, while Out of Scope employees who relocate receive up to $5,000 and unionized employees receive up to $1,000. All employees must provide the appropriate receipts, and have their reimbursement approved by the City Manager.

Leclaire wrote that forcing employees to move to Prince Albert could cost the City an extra $36,000 to $45,000 in annual moving expenses. The City has hired between 16 and 21 new permanent employees every year for the past three years.

“I believe if you are one of the department heads, you should live in the city,” Mayor Greg Dionne said Friday.

The proposed residency requirement policy is one of 32 items on the agenda for Monday’s city council meeting. Other items include a new development permit application for a third cannabis retail store in Prince Albert, and a development application for a theatre and social club on First Avenue West. Monday’s meeting begins at 2 p.m.
— with files from Peter Lozinski