The state Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann to hire a senior assistant district attorney and other assistant district attorneys who reside in nearby counties.
Budelmann sought the exception last year to help fill vacancies in his office. He informed Cayuga County legislators that there was a candidate who was qualified, but lived in Onondaga County.
The candidate was hired by Budelmann on a temporary basis because the law doesn't state when the employee must become a resident of the county. But to ensure the employee could remain with his office, he needed the state to ease the residency requirement.
Under the state Public Officers Law, assistant district attorneys must be residents of the county.
The legislation sponsored by state Sen. Pam Helming would amend the law to permit the senior assistant district attorney and assistant district attorneys to "reside in an adjoining county."
Helming, R-Canandaigua, wrote in the bill's memo that the district attorney's office has been understaffed and short on assistant district attorneys.
"Current residency requirements have created difficulties for rural Cayuga County to fill their assistant district attorney and senior (assistant) district attorney positions," she explained.
The measure, which was cosponsored by state Sens. Bob Antonacci and Jim Seward, passed by a 62-0 vote. It has been delivered to the state Assembly.
Once it passes the state Assembly, it will be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his review. If he signs the bill, it will take effect immediately.