clear
Tuesday May 5th, 2015 10:28PM

Report: Ga. governments have weak nepotism rules

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) Local governments in metro Atlanta have hired at least 770 relatives of current employees during the last three years, according to an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. <br /> <br /> The review (http://bit.ly/1sSYiwN ) raises questions over whether rules designed to prevent nepotism are adequate or appropriately enforced. <br /> <br /> In one case, Gwinnett County lets an elected official supervise his own girlfriend. An Atlanta city councilman votes on government spending that funds the paychecks of his brothers and sisters. In Clayton County, an employee can work with his brother while his father is the chairman of the county commission. In a DeKalb County division, 10 percent of employees work with a relative. <br /> <br /> It's extremely difficult to track how many local government workers are related to their colleagues. No one consistently tracks that hiring, and safeguards intended to prevent nepotism are limited and often outdated. About 1,700 employees of six governments appeared to live together, based on an examination of home addresses. Most share the same last names. <br /> <br /> Experts say nepotism deprives governments of the most-qualified employees. It can also lead to discipline problems, damage workplace morale and create conflicts of interest. Even the appearance of family favoritism can tarnish a government's credibility. <br /> <br /> ``At any point, there can be a scandal,'' said Robert Wechsler, an expert at City Ethics, which advises local governments on ethics issues. <br /> <br /> Policies are inconsistent across different governments. Gwinnett County bans elected official's relatives from being hired. Most policies do not cover domestic partners. That means a supervisor could employee a partner so long as they are not married. <br /> <br /> Clayton County prohibits spouses, parents, children and siblings from working in the same departments. That prohibition does not apply to more distant relations such grandparents, nieces or uncles. Close relatives can work in large departments if they are not in the same division. <br /> <br /> It's not uncommon for children to follow into the professions of their parents. <br /> <br /> ``I'm kind of a sentimental guy,'' said Kevin Keough, a Gwinnett firefighter whose sons Jordan and Chad work in the department. ``Just seeing them in this uniform makes me proud.'' <br /> <br /> Relatives of a current employee may be known, trusted and show more commitment, said Robert Jones, a Missouri State University psychology professor. <br /> <br /> But the process can be abused. <br /> <br /> A special grand jury in Clayton County cited unspecified examples last year of nepotism and self-dealing it said were rampant in local government. It recommended not hiring job candidates who fail to pass background checks, even if those candidates have relatives in positions of authority.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 4 months ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 4 months ago )
Politics
Dozens turn out to Gainesville City Council meeting to voice opposition for at-large voting
Dozens of people showed up at Tuesday night's Gainesville City Council meeting to voice their opinions in opposition to the city's at-large voting system.
7:13PM ( 3 hours ago )
Dump truck driver in Gainesville wreck identified
Georgia State Patrol troppers have identified the male dump truck driver in serious condition after his truck overturned on Queen City Parkway Tuesday morning.
5:56PM ( 4 hours ago )
Hall Co. authorities search for woman missing since March
The Hall County Sheriff's Office is looking for a woman missing since March of this year.
4:46PM ( 5 hours ago )
Ted Cruz to keynote victory dinner at state GOP Convention
Texas senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz will keynote the Victory Dinner at the 2015 Georgia Republican Party State Convention in Athens.
3:31PM ( 6 hours ago )
Bicyclist killed in Jackson Co. hit and run was local pastor
The bicyclist killed in a crash with a hit and run driver Monday has been identified as a Gainesville pastor.
12:11PM ( 10 hours ago )