Fire department taking Ohio applicants

PARKERSBURG – Parkersburg City Council approved a resolution expanding the Parkersburg Fire Department’s residency policy to include portions of Ohio.

The change allows city firefighters to live within a 28-mile radius of the Parkersburg Municipal Building. The previous policy required them to live within Wood County. Fire Chief Eric Taylor said the new policy still keeps firefighters within the same radius, but allows them to live in Ohio as well.

Mayor Bob Newell expressed his support of the move Tuesday during his executive message.

“Every progressive city in America is lifting these kinds of bans on residency,” he said, referring to the original policy.

The resolution passed by a 6-3 vote, with council members Nancy Wilcox, Roger Brown and John Kelly voting against.

Newell said he now wants council to consider creating an ordinance for the Parkersburg Police Department with a residency requirement similar to the revamped fire department policy.

“The police department has no residency policy. There just isn’t one,” he said.

City attorney Joe Santer said police residency will differ from the firefighter residency issue. Because of the way the city charter is written, the police policy has to be adopted as an ordinance while the firefighter policy change could be handled as a resolution.

In other business, an ordinance to create a part-time police clerk position unanimously passed a first reading Tuesday, and will be brought back to the council for approval at its next meeting.