Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Kanawha School Board Considering Revising Anti-Nepotism Policy

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Kanawha School Board Considering Revising Anti-Nepotism Policy

Article excerpt

The Kanawha County school board on Monday placed out on public comment a proposal to widen the scope of its anti-nepotism policy to affect more than just employees' immediate family members. Despite the fact the district will accept public comments, a step generally required for policy changes, district General Counsel Jim Withrow said the board must make the modifications to comply with state laws and regulations.

The changes, which the board will likely vote on next month, would strike out the definition of a worker's "immediate family - currently defined as his or her "spouse, parent, sibling, child, or the spouse of a parent, sibling or child; or an individual with whom an employee has a relationship that would be recognized as a common law relationship.

Instead, the policy would expand to ban employees from, with some exceptions, supervising or being involved in personnel actions - including promotions, evaluations or recommendations for employment - involving their "family members. That broader definition includes one's "father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother- in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother or half sister; or any cohabiting sexual partner.

"This is much more expansive, Withrow said.

School board member Becky Jordon said the affected group could be huge, considering the way families are intertwined.

"This includes everybody, board member Pete Thaw added.

"I've said before, I don't know how they hire some people in some counties, Withrow replied.

Though he declined to discuss specifics or identify the individuals involved, he said the mismatch between the district's policy and state rules "kind of slipped up on us when a principal recommended hiring someone who was not in the definition of immediate family. He said the hire was approved, was discovered to be illegal and had to be undone.

Thaw said he couldn't recall the name of the principal, but said she's new to the district this school year. …

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