Nepotism policy still in question

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By Natasha LaFayette


City Administrator David Young revisited the city’s nepotism policy at the Monday night meeting, saying City Attorney Reid Troutman drafted a nepotism ordinance for the council’s approval.

“The nepotism policy was enacted with an ordinance, so it has to be altered with an ordinance,” said Young. “This is an ordinance that will do what you requested to be done.”

Young further explained the ordinance would have to be passed on a first and second reading and a public hearing held.

“Why don’t we just go ahead and do away with the nepotism policy, period, and start all over again,” said Councilman Hansford Hatmaker. “And that way we’ve done away with it and we’ll fix it the way we want it.”

Hatmaker recommended the council abolish the policy, and Young clarified that doing away with the policy would still take an ordinance.

“You are going way out too far with this,” said Hatmaker.

Young said the council would have to decide what the ordinance should say. Troutman prepared the ordinance based on Hatmaker’s suggestion to exempt the mayor and council from the policy during the last council meeting.

Hatmaker then asked for the council’s opinions, to which Councilmen Bob Fannon and Wayne Kitts again expressed their disapproval of changing the policy.

Both Fannon and Kitts had voted against changing the policy at last month’s meeting.

“I thought we should have left it alone the way it was,” said Kitts before Hatmaker interrupted him.

Hatmaker said the policy is already being broken.

“In 1997 I voted for it then and I’ll vote for it to continue. I have not seen a problem,” said Fannon who insisted the policy has never been broken.

He continued saying, he thought the council would adopt the ordinance that allows for the changes proposed at the last meeting, meaning he did not expect the issue to be up for discussion.

“We have never had a problem in 12 years, I mean why change it now,” said Fannon prior to him questioning Hatmaker about any problems.

After a lengthy debate about the policy, Hatmaker stated he was not there to argue.

Young asked the council for recommendations or direction for the ordinance.

“We have plenty of time Mr. Young to let you know what we’re going to do,” said Hatmaker in response to Young’s request. “Maybe not tonight but we’ve got from now, just so you can get it on the agenda.”

Young told Hatmaker that the council only had the workshop to decide what to do.

The discussion on the nepotism policy ended without further debate and with no changes made to the policy.

The ordinance will be placed on the agenda for next week’s council meeting.