Nepotism – Nip it in the Bud (11/24/09)
Since the dawn of time, many people have assumed that as soon as someone is elected to a position of power, one or more family members will soon be feeding at the public trough.
It's not always true, by any means. But our officials should be above such suspicions.
Metro Council member Ken Fleming agrees. He's proposed an ethics ordinance that would prohibit any of the city's primary elected officials from employing – or contracting with -- any members of their family.
But a competing version being considered would apply that restriction only to family members who live in the same household. That would mean elected officials couldn't put their spouses on their payroll or otherwise funnel any public money their way. But their grown children, Uncle Harry and even dear old Mom could still get a free pass.
And that's not good enough.
Everyone should have equal access to city jobs and contracts. And while it would be wrong to assume that all financial relationships between elected officials and their family members are shady, it would also be naive to deny that the potential for impropriety is there.
Regardless of whether or not they live under the same roof, special relationships exist among family members. And any new ethics law should make sure none of those private relationships are allowed to intrude upon the public's business.
Do you agree? Call and let us know.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my…Point of View.