Attorney: Transit head OK outside city

GLOVERSVILLE – The mayor and city labor attorney said Transit Manager William Walrath will be able to remain in his position as long as he lives within the Fulton County.

The issue came up last week, when city resident Bob Castiglione told officials Walrath – a Northville resident – is holding a department head position without being a resident of the city, which he said appeared to violate state and local law.

According to the city charter, every elected or appointed city officer must meet the qualifications established by a section of the state Public Officers Law. However, according to the charter, certain appointed city officers do not need to be residents of the city, but must be residents of Fulton County: city assessor, city clerk, deputy city clerk and commissioner of finance.

A section of the state Public Officers Law allows police and fire chiefs to reside outside the city where they work.

While Mayor Dayton King raised the possibility of changing the charter to allow the transit manager to live in the county, Bryan Goldberger – the city’s labor attorney – said that will not be necessary.

Goldberger said the fact the transit manager position isn’t specifically mentioned in the charter doesn’t necessarily mean Walrath has to be a resident of the city.

“Normally if I’m going to say something specific about a requirement for a position or residency restriction, I’ll recite it from the charter,” Goldberger said. “For whatever reason, it’s not specifically in there and isn’t one of the positions recited, and aside from that section three of Public Officers Law applies.”

Goldberger noted “[the charter] references Public Officers Law, section three, and that requires you to live in the county.”

On Tuesday, King said “As long as [Walrath] lives in the county, which he does living in Northville, he will continue to hold his position in the city.”

A letter presenting Goldberger’s opinion on the matter will be presented in a letter to the Common?Council at its meeting Tuesday.

Walrath this morning said he had no comment on the matter.