Fulton County probation officers can now reside in any surrounding county.
The Board of Supervisors on Monday voted to loosen residency restrictions in hopes of scooping up talent within a larger scope. Probation officers, responsible for supervising offenders on conditional release, were previously bound to only live within the jurisdiction.
The move comes three months after the county decided to allow deputies in the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office to live anywhere in the state.
“The only reason we kept expanding it was really the shortage of labor,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott Horton. “I don’t necessarily think that this is a step that’s for probation officers to expand to the entire state, but circumstances are going to dictate where the county goes from here.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the county waived the rule for a spate of outside applicants across county departments, including caseworkers, clerks and laborers.
The county’s Civil Service Employees Association general unit is currently in the process of negotiations with the administrative negotiators. For months, union members have demanded pay hikes at Board of Supervisors meetings for what they consider to be crisis-level shortages hitting social services workers.
“We can’t afford to do as we’re doing,” said Debbie Phillips, a DSS worker on Monday. “We need to be able to also provide for our families.”
So far, the county has only had one meeting with the general unit, Horton said.