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Questions circle around nepotism policy at LaFollette

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By Natasha LaFayette

The LaFollette City council revisited the city’s nepotism policy on Monday night.

Councilman Hansford Hatmaker has continually fought for a change in the policy recently.  However, Hatmaker said he does not have a relative interested in a job with the city.

“The purpose of that policy is to prevent us from hiring any of our relatives,” said Councilman Wayne Kitts to Hatmaker during the meeting.

Hatmaker debated the issue of councilmen and supervisors having relatives on the payroll with City Attorney Reid Troutman.

“Eliminate the councilmen from the nepotism policy altogether,” said Hatmaker. “If it was up to me I wouldn’t have one.”

The policy states department heads, city administrator, mayor and councilmen cannot hire a relative. This includes both immediate and extended family members.

While Hatmaker claimed he had no interest in hiring a family member, another councilmember had a relative apply for a job with the city.

According to Police Chief Ben Baird, Brian Tiller has turned in an application to join the police department.

“He is a nephew or some kind of relative,” said Baird about Tiller’s relation to Councilman Joe Bolinger.

Baird said he has not continued the application process because of Tiller’s relationship to Bolinger.

City Administrator David Young declined comment when asked about Bolinger’s relationship to the applicant.  

Young also refused to comment if Bolinger had expressed interest in changing the policy. During both discussions about the policy, Bolinger has remained quite while everyone else contributed to the conversation.

Bolinger did not return phone calls by press time.