Council endorses nixing city manager residency rule
Park Ridge Interim City Manager Shawn Hamilton.
Updated: October 14, 2012 12:23PM
PARK RIDGE — Park Ridge’s top administrator may no longer be required to call the city “home, sweet home.”
An ordinance abolishing a mandatory Park Ridge residency for the city manager was approved by the City Council on a first reading Sept. 4. The ordinance will return for a second and final vote on Sept. 17.
The change could potentially benefit Shawn Hamilton, the city’s interim city manager, who lives in Coal City. Hamilton was hired as an interim manager through May 1, 2013, and he has expressed interest in taking on the city manager role on a permanent basis. Such a decision will ultimately be made by the mayor and City Council.
Not all aldermen are in favor of eliminating the residency rule, though. Voting against the motion were 1st Ward Alderman Joe Sweeney, 2nd Ward Alderman Rich DiPietro and 3rd Ward Alderman Jim Smith.
“If residency isn’t important, then why don’t we make the city manager a call center in India?” Smith asked during an Aug. 27 Committee of the Whole discussion.
Sweeney stated that as the highest-paid Park Ridge employee the city manager “should be part of this community.”
But other elected officials, like 5th Ward Alderman Dan Knight and 6th Ward Alderman Marc Mazzuca, view a residency requirement as potentially negative.
“My fear is if we demand residency it will limit the pool of talent we might get,” Knight said.
Mayor David Schmidt has also expressed his support of eliminating the residency requirement.
When former city manager Jim Hock was hired in 2008 the city provided him with an interest-free loan of $350,000 so he could purchase a residence in Park Ridge. Living expenses of $2,000 per month were also paid until Hock moved into the home within six months of his hiring.
Hock had previously resided in a suburb of Detroit.~.