By Debby Woodin
The Joplin City Council has agreed to waive the city’s residency requirement for department heads for administrators to negotiate with a candidate to be the new human resources director.
Assistant City Manager Sam Anselm told the council at a meeting Monday night that the city has an ordinance that requires department heads to live inside the city limits.
He said there is a candidate for the human resources position who lives about eight miles outside Joplin and cannot move into the city because of a family obligation. He asked the council to waive the requirement for discussions with that candidate.
Councilman Benjamin Rosenberg said, “I don’t think it makes a difference on job performance, but I personally believe employees should live inside the city. It’s just a matter of pride in our city.”
Anselm was questioned by council members about the location of the candidate. Anselm was asked if the candidate lives in the Neosho area or in Oklahoma. He said those were not the correct locations.
Councilman Gary Shaw countered that he believes that a candidate most qualified who has the confidence of city administrators should be the main consideration for negotiating for the position and not whether a person lives in the city limits.
City Manager Mark Rohr said the regulation might be more important for a police chief or fire chief, who would need to be concerned about responding quickly to an emergency.
Councilman Mike Seibert made a motion to waive the requirement. The council voted 6-2 to approve the waiver. Rosenberg and Morris Glaze voted against it.
Anselm said information about the number of job candidates and finalists would be released later.
The city’s human resources director, Reba Snavely, announced in January she would retire effective April 2. She had held the position since 2007.