Talbot Ballot Question Aims to Repeal Residency Requirement for County Employees

Voters in Talbot County will decide this November whether to lift a requirement that certain department heads reside within the County.

“Question A” on the ballot asks voters to authorize the Talbot County Council — by a supermajority vote — to waive residency requirements for the county attorney, county planning officer, and county engineer. The County Charter stipulates that each of those appointed positions be occupied by individuals who reside in the County.

The County Council — citing a shrinking pool of qualified candidates — in July voted unanimously to put the question on the 2020 general election ballot.

According to The Star Democrat:

Having employees who live in Talbot County is “something that’s certainly preferable,” Price said, “but sometimes we’re limited in the candidates, and sometimes they have other family members that might be someplace else and (living in the county) doesn’t necessarily work for them.”

“I would certainly rather have the best person for the job, and as long as they’re not too far away, I don’t think it takes away from their ability to do the job,” she said, adding, “It’s hard to find good people and we want to keep them, especially when they can go someplace else maybe and make more money.”

Maryland law authorizes local governments to require that department heads and at-will supervisory employees reside in the state, county, or municipality as a condition of employment.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.