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iowa nepotism law city council to hire council wife Iowa

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  • iowa nepotism law city council to hire council wife Iowa

    I am a city council member in a small town in nw iowa, aprox 4000 people, we are building a new community convention center. My question is the community center board has moved to hire another council members wife to manage this center. He is also a lead fundraiser for the center. His wife is highly qualified. Is this legal to do, she would be in control of the centers budget which we have direct control of. We do not have a nepotism policy in our city but I think should have one.

  • #2
    In our case in our small town, that city council member would be asked to recuse himself from any decisions made about the center or budget so that nepotism would not come into play. And from what you have said, it sounds like she is qualified. If she weren't, then you would have a much larger issue. The other question is this -- is there anyone else in the town that would be qualified? Sometimes in small towns, nepotism happens because there is truly no other choice. If the citizens don't like it, then they have the choice to later vote the husband off of the council.

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    • #3
      This situation, while possibly unwise, is not illegal.

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      • #4
        If there is no policy against nepotism, then it is perfectly legal. In such a small town, it is nearly inevitable that there are going to be less than 6 degrees of separation. Finding employees who are qualified and have no connection to any other employee is ging to be tough.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          I work for a city and we have discussed issues similar to this.
          Specifically, we had a current employee's husband run for Council member.

          If elected, he would be briefed on the importance of keeping confidentiality (and we knew there wasnt much we could do about it) and recusing himself from any issues related specifically to the departement his spouse worked in.
          We considered having a policy that would prohibit spouse and council members both working here at the same time but our attorney said that was probably not going to be legal.

          Luckily, he was not elected and the problem went away.

          In a nearby town, one spouse was running for Mayor and the other spouse for council member. Now that would have been a mess. (I think only the one running for coucil got elected).
          I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
          Thomas Jefferson

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