Newburgh council debates local hiring policy

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NEWBURGH – Members of the Newburgh City Council continued their discussion Thursday night about a local hiring policy and by the end of the evening tabled it.
Councilwoman Gay Lee would like it in writing that the city and its contractors must hire 30 percent of its workers as city residents.
Some council members said a comprehensive policy should be drafted, but Lee said they should stop talking and put it in writing.
“Many of the people who live here are unemployed,” Lee said. They are not able to make a sustainable wage because they have been relegated to these jobs that don’t pay that much so they are making $10 an hour. The only thing we did was disqualify them from public assistance. There is a whole way around this where we can develop an approach to working with our residents and bringing the county and the department of social services into this.”
City Attorney Michelle Kelson said before any policy is put in writing, it must be vetted to be sure that it does not conflict with state and federal laws.