Commissioners approve ordinance which prohibits nepotism in hiring
An ordinance has been approved which bans nepotism in county hiring.
The ordinance was approved at a regular meeting of the Union County Board of Commissioners which was held last Friday morning. The meeting was at the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro.
The ordinance was drafted by Union County State’s Attorney Tyler R. Edmonds.The document provides guidelines for hirings which involve the county board. The state’s attorney noted that similar anti-nepotism guidelines have been adopted in other jurisdictions.
Specifically, the ordinance amends the Union County Code of Ordinances by Section Article 6 of Chapter 11.
In related action, the commissioners also approved a resolution which recommended that the county’s elected officials adopt an anti-nepotism policy.
The state’s attorney said at Friday’s meeting that he planned to adopt the policy immediately.
The ordinance declares that the county board has determined that employment actions it takes, “including hiring, promotion, discipline and dismissal should not be based on favoritism granted to family members of elected officials, department heads and other supervisory personnel.”
The document further declares that the county board “has determined that prohibiting nepotism, being favoritism, or the appearance of such favoritism, in County employment actions, will protect” the county and also will “ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent in the most efficient and effective manner and promote public confidence in the operation and efficiency of County government.”
The ordinance includes definitions for a “family member,” a “management employee” and an “employee.”
A family member, as defined in the ordinance, “means a person related to a County Commissioner, Elected Official or Management Employee as father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, husband, wife, party to a civil union, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother or stepsister.”
Management employees include the county administrator, the chief information officer, the Emergency Telephone System Board coordinator, the supervisor of assessments, the director the Union County Ambulance Service, the Union County highway engineer (the superintendent of highways) “or any other Employee responsible for the hiring, promotion, discipline and dismissal of Employees.”
An employee is a person employed by the county, whether on a full-time or part-time basis or pursuant to a contract whose duties are subject to the direction and control of the county, but does not include an independent contractor.
An employee does not include a person who is employed in the offices of the county coroner, clerk, circuit clerk, sheriff, state’s attorney or treasurer – all of which are elected positions.
The ordinance declares that: “No person shall knowingly hire a Family Member of any County Commissioner, Elected Official or Management Employee as an Employee.”
The guidelines do not cover any employee hired prior to Jan. 27, 2017.
A violation of the ordinance would be a petty offense, leading to a possible fine not to exceed $1,000.
In other action at Friday’s meeting:
The commissioners approved a county highway maintenance resolution for 2017. The resolution addressed spending authority for $500,000 in state allocated motor fuel tax funds for highway maintenance work.
Approval was given for a $4,000 tourism grant to the Cross of Peace on Bald Knob Mountain near Alto Pass. Tourism grant funds are generated by a local hotel/motel tax. The grant to the Cross of Peace will be used for a variety of promotional materials.