Cleveland ordinance would require emergency responders to live in Cuyahoga, six nearby counties

Council to take on residency requirements Tuesday

CLEVELAND - A new ordinance will be introduced at Tuesday's Cleveland City Council that would require some city workers to live within a certain distance of Cuyahoga County.

This does not sit well with some emergency responders.

"They say it's for emergency recall situations," said Frank Szabo, president of the Cleveland firefighters union.

If passed, the new ordinance would affect the following employees: public safety, police, fire, emergency medical, mayor's office chiefs and the clerk of council, as well as the directors, assistant directors and commissioner of all departments.

"There hasn't been any issue with emergency recall," Szabo said. "There's been no inability for employees to come (here) in a time of emergency."

The legislation would allow the emergency workers to live in Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Summit, Medina, Lorain and Portage counties.

City officials did not have an exact number of employees living outside the stated area. Of the 1,509 Cleveland police officers, 489 live outside the city. The division of fire has 445 firefighters that live in the city and 325 that live outside the city.

According to Councilman Kevin Conwell, who wrote the ordinance, there may be a few firefighters living outside the state in California, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. He hopes the ordinance will put an end to any future emergency responders thinking about doing the same thing.

"You have to have your safety forces here when you need them," Conwell said. The bill would not affect the three aforementioned firefighters living.

"You don't want to wait until there is a natural disaster to plan," Conwell said.

The bill is expected to be introduced on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

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