2006-01-18 / Opinions & Letters

Some thoughts on nepotism

At this week’s commissioners meeting, the issue of employing members of the same family reared its ugly head. We urge the commissioners to adhere to the standard they established last April, which banned hiring of immediate family members.

Highway supervisor Ramzi Awwad requested a variance in order to hire the brother of a current employee, stating as long as the two related employees did not have a “supervisor and employee” relationship there would be no harm.

We disagree. While we understand Awwad’s inherent desire to staff his department with capable workers, there is a larger issue at stake here.

A governing body that makes rules only to bend them at the first test sends a very poor message. Nepotism has long been an unspoken code in this county, with many public officials linked through blood or marriage.

As commissioner George Mears so aptly put it, “we’re all cousins or related.”

The close-knit family relationships in our county are a quintessential part of small town life, but they can also prove our undoing.

We urge our commissioners to keep that thought in mind and deny Awwad’s request.

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