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Residency requirement extension granted
Grand Island Fire Chief Cory Schmidt is quickly approaching an April 1st deadline he can't meet. Schmidt lives outside the city's residency requirement.
Tuesday night, City Council members voted 6 to 3 to grant Schmidt a 6 month extension.
After a year with no official Fire Chief, Cory Schmidt gladly stepped in.
Schmidt, like all city directors has 6 months to move within 12 miles of city limits.
Schmidt lives just 17 miles away near St. Paul.
"I would like to stay there, but I understand that that wasn't part of our deal," said Cory Schmidt, G.I. Fire Chief.
He has strong ties to the area, including a business and three kids in school.
"I understand this is a very important job, but raising a family is also real important," said Schmidt.
Schmidt and his wife began searching for a home, but ultimately decided to build a new one.
They're moving only about 5 miles closer.
"We're almost ready to break ground, just waiting on the weather," said Schmidt.
Human Resources Director Brenda Sutherland also has to abide by the residency requirement.
A topic Grand Island City Council re-visited last year. But, made no changes to the status quo.
"If there would be an emergency and you have to get back to City Hall right away, if people live too far away that might be difficult," said Brenda Sutherland, G.I. Human Resources Director.
With cell phones and internet within easy access, is this policy outdated?
"We're working differently than we did ten years ago and ten years from now we'll be working even more differently," said Sutherland
For now it's a short distance, but a big move, so the new fire chief is a few miles closer to work.
"I could foresee them changing it at some point," said Schmidt.
Opponents of the residency requirement argue that it could force cities to go with less qualified candidates, if someone doesn't want to comply.
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