Posts tagged: nepotism
Item: Cd'A mulls personnel rule changes: Family members of mayor, city council could not be hired/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: The city of Coeur d'Alene wants to add language in its personnel rules spelling out mayor or city council family members can't be hired as employees. The change, one of four proposed amendments to employee rules, is the Idaho statute the city said it inadvertently violated when it hired City Council President Ron Edinger's three grandchildren as seasonal workers. The three grandchildren were fired earlier this year after city officials said the rule was pointed out to them.”It's about time,” Edinger said Monday on adding the language. “I think it should be known, and I think all department heads should know about it.”
Question: Do you care whether or not the city of Coeur d'Alene adds language to statues to make it clear that the city can't hire family members of the mayor or council?
Anytime a politician approaches an ethical border, the first thing out of his mouth is: “It's legal.” And the next thing is: “Everybody else does it.” So it goes with freshman Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, who waited all of five months in office before putting his wife Becca on the payroll. As the Spokesman-Review's Betsy Russell reported, Labrador hired his wife as his campaign accountant. Hired in May, she's paid $2,050 a month and is the campaign's sole employee. Nepotism laws apply only to federal offices. Becca Labrador can't draw a salary from her husband's congressional staff - where he earns $174,000. And Labrador can't spend campaign contributions on himself. Even after he retires from office, the law prohibits him converting whatever cash remains in that account to personal use. But hiring his wife for the campaign accomplishes the same result/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you consider this to be the first serious ethical slip by Congressman Labrador? Or do you even consider it to be a slip?
More Info: Two of the three grandchildren of a Coeur d'Alene councilman who were fired as city seasonal workers because of nepotism rules stated on their applications that they were related to the council member. The city's Human Resources Department said two of the applicants specified they were the grandchildren of City Council President Ron Edinger on their applications, which asked whether they were related to any city employees.
Question: Does this disclosure affect your view of the employment and later firing of Councilman Ron Edinger's three grandchildren?
City Supervisor Gary Riedner said Thursday an accusatory anonymous letter has been researched, rendered unfounded and will be the subject of no further action. The letter, distributed to Mayor Nancy Chaney, members of the city council and area media, made allegations of corrupt hiring practices, threats of firing and nepotism in both the city fire and police departments. “As a former volunteer firefighter, citizen and taxpayer of the city of Moscow, I feel this is an injustice to the firefighters for their safety and to the public for their safety and not getting the best candidate for the job,” the letter reads. “I have also heard of hiring problems within the police department in the past.' Riedner said he, City Attorney Randy Fife and other city officials looked into the allegations and found no truth to them/David Johnson, Lewiston Tribune.
Question: How big of a problem do you think nepotism is in Idaho cities and counties?
On his campaign blog site, Coeur d'Alene City Council candidate Dan Gookin spotlights the current dustup involving nepotism charges against Councilman Ron Edinger. Gookin criticizes city officials rather than Edinger for the problem. Gookin isn't running for Edinger's seat: “This episode with Mr. Edinger isn’t about him as much as it’s about the failure of City staff to do their jobs. There’s also a responsibility for follow-through by the City Council to provide oversight and accountability. The article mentions city employees who apparently were supposed to know and follow the law: City Attorney Mike Gridley (next year’s salary $125,000) and Chief Administrator Wendy Gabriel ($123,000). The article should have also included the City’s Human Resource director, Pam MacDonald ($112,000). I would assume, based on their high level of pay ($360,000), and the continuing praises lavished upon staff by the incumbent council, that these City employees are all doing a super job. Apparently not.” More here.
Question: Who is most to blame for the problem? Edinger? Bloem administration? Other?
On June 17, 2000, then SR CdA bureau reporter Winston Ross (pictured) wrote a story about the impact of a conflict-of-interest law re: Idaho cities hiring relatives of mayors of city council members. Here's part of that report: “In Coeur d'Alene, Councilman Ron Edinger's daughter works for the city Parks Department. Paula Austin was hired 10 years ago, long after her father began a 30-year stint as a councilman and mayor. When asked about the conflict, Austin put a reporter on hold, never returned to the telephone, and then didn't answer subsequent calls. Edinger could be off the hook in this case, however. It's unclear what the nepotism laws were before 1990, when the current statute was enacted. `'When (Austin) was hired, I had nothing to do with that,' Edinger said. 'I didn't even know she applied. The fellow in charge of parks and rec at the time didn't know she was my daughter.' City Attorney Jeff Jones wouldn't comment on Edinger's situation, claiming it would violate attorney-client privilege.” More here.
Question: What did they know, and when did they know it?
Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Ron Edinger said Wednesday he’s the victim of a smear campaign because he believes the proposed makeover of McEuen Field should be put to a public vote. In a statement released to the media, Edinger said he never used his position to help three of his grandsons get jobs with the city. Two of them have worked part-time for the city for years, he said; a third worked seasonally for the streets department. “Left with no issue upon which to discredit me and a heated dissatisfaction with my position taken on McEuen, there are individuals who have chosen to go after the core of my being; my family during this campaign,” said Edinger, 75, who has served on the council for more than 40 years and is running for re-election/Alison Boggs, SR. More here.
Question: Is this a case of a smear campaign? Or getting caught doing something improper? Or something in between?
Originally posted at 12:47 p.m.
Councilman Ron Edinger just emailed this message re: an accusation being made that he used his position to gain city employment for his grandchildren: “After many years of my family and me serving the citizens of Coeur d’Alene, I find myself forced to come to the public with this announcement. There is a law titled (18-1359, Using Public Position for Personal Gain) that was enacted in 1990. The law contains the provision that “no member of a council member’s family or mayor may be appointed or employed by the city with which the salary or wages are paid from the general fund.” With that said, for many years two of my grandsons have worked part-time within the city and for the last two summers a third grandson has worked seasonally for the street department. My grandsons were never appointed or hired by me; my family has always assumed that they could always apply as well as any other citizen in this community for these part-time positions. I have never, let me repeat, never used my position to further the aspirations of any employee of the city including those of my grandsons. Unbeknownst to them or me, they were ineligible for employment.” More here.