Editorials

Gray right to crack down on nepotism in city hiring

It's rarely a cause for joy when anyone loses a job. Even less so when that person has been a respected and trusted public employee.

That said, the administration of Mayor Jim Gray did the right thing by asking Cheryl Taylor to resign when it became clear that she had been involved in seeking work for her husband, an electrical contractor, through the department she oversaw. That's nepotism and it is rightly outlawed under our city charter.

This issue came up a little over four years ago when another new mayor, Jim Newberry, wanted to hire then-police chief Anthany Beatty as public safety commissioner. In that job Beatty would have overseen the fire department, where one of his sons was employed. That would have required a change in the city's ethics laws, something the council didn't seem eager to do, and Newberry backed down.

Both mayors made the right decision. It is impossible to avoid the perception of favoritism when a manager is in the direct line of authority over a close relative.

While it's tempting to make exceptions for exceptional people and circumstances, tolerating nepotism undermines public faith in government.

  Comments