I’m sure my government teachers covered the issue of nepotism in public employee hires back before their were any prohibitions of it. Corruption, incompetence, cronyism. And the establishment of merit based system at federal agencies to do away with all that. Then only superficially about California public agencies that did have a tradition of clean government compared to that other states. From that I have assumed for all these years that nepotism in CA was as illegal as it is in the federal government.
Thus, in the outrage over Kim Davis, County Clerk of Rowan County, KY, refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, I was also outraged to discover that nepotism in KY is perfectly legal.
Davis served as Rowan County chief deputy clerk, reporting to her mother, Jean W. Bailey, for 24 years Kentucky law permits elected county officials to employ their family members and to determine their compensation; it is common practice in the state.
In 2014, Bailey chose not to run for re-election. Davis then ran for county clerk as a Democrat.
…She defeated Cox in the general election, becoming the Rowan county clerk. As county clerk, she receives an annual salary of $80,000.
Kim Davis’ son Nathan works for his mother. So, I guess this county clerk’s office is a little family fiefdom.
And for all the federal restrictions, nepotism isn’t dead. The Hill 2012 Nepotism prevalent at Justice Department, says IG report. WaPo 2013 Report: Nepotism `open and widely accepted’ at Energy Department The Hill DOJ 2014 Report Regarding Investigation of Improper Hiring Practices …
(How about a bit more outrage from Congress and the WH about federal government nepotism? Or would that cut a bit too close to home for them?)
Back to CA and my self-study education today. In an article released by California Institute for Local Government (ILG) (not a Koch funded subversive operation) titled Everyday Ethics for Local Officials Hiring: When a Relative Wants a Job, I learned that:
State law does not specifically address the issue of nepotism in local agency hiring decisions.
However, counties, municipalities, and some agencies in California may prohibit nepotism. For example, it’s in the City of Riverside charter. Since that was the only example presented, I’m guessing that such prohibitions aren’t prevalent throughout the state. Yet, nepotism is likely not rampant.
The ILG article details a process for CA government official and managers to evaluate the ethics of hiring a relative. Basically recommending erring on the side of super-ethical:
Finally, a number of local officials noted in response to this question that the reality is that public service involves sacrifices. There are some things that individuals cannot do by virtue of their status as public officials – some opportunities that they (and their families) cannot take advantage of.
One official even knows of a senior level public official who went so far as to retire from city service so his son could be considered for an agency position. In short, it is a matter of choices. In this instance, the senior level official determined that his son’s opportunities were more important that his own. The son could also have chosen to apply for employment in agencies other than the one in which his father served.
With twenty-six years employment in the county clerk’s office before being elected county clerk, Kim Davis was surely most qualified in knowing all the ins and outs and daily operating procedures of the agency. But such operating technical expertise is the job of long-term and senior employees in any organization. Managerial skill sets can include all of that, but they also need more breadth. Such as an ability to quickly and efficiently adjust procedures in accordance with new law.
It’s tempting to postulate that Kim Davis lacks sufficient formal education to understand that as a county clerk she must follow public law. (Although a high school education should be sufficient to understand that.) But that’s much too harsh considering that Harvard Law graduate Ted Cruz is supporting Davis. What a waste education was on Cuban-Candian Cruz. (And Harvard should be ashamed of turning out so many jackasses.)