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Committee wants Nepotism Policy

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May 24, 2010 by wcobserver

Committee wants Nepotism Policy

May 20, 2010

By Steve Winkler

Nepotism, technology and city vehicles  were the main topics of concern for the Finance/Personnel Committee.   The mayor pointed out that there is no clause in the personnel handbook regarding family members working in the some department.  The work of the committee, she said is to make recommendations to the city council via the city attorney for changes in the handbook. The personnel handbook is created by city ordinance.

Brian Bowerman got more specific, noting that police Sergeant John Nelson reports to his father, Chief Mike Nelson and suggested looking at the definition of “immediate family” in the hand book.  All seemed to agree that nieces and nephews should be in included in the definition of “immediate family.” Bowerman commented that a nepotism clause would “protect the city.”Charlie Rossetti agreed on the need for a clause and asked what other cities are doing.  Kristie Drymon said she is waiting for a response to that question directed earlier to the Arkansas Municipal League.

 She added that there is also a need to develop a policy on technology which includes computer use, long distance calling, email, internet and removal of city electronic property.  She reminded committee members that the Freedom of Information Act covers electronic communication including email.  Charlie Rossetti wondered if that included accessing home computers.   Bowerman noted that unauthorized computer use contributed to work loss.  Justin Harris mentioned that a tech policy should cover offensive material.

The mayor emphasized that the personal handbook covers all employees, “Doesn’t matter if elected or not, if the city pays us we are employees.”  Bowerman asked who enforces the handbook.  Throgmorton said, “Me and Butch, the city manager.” Rossitti commented that City Manager Butch Bartholomew provides consistency in enforcing the handbook.  Harris agreed, “The elected come and go, employees are here.”

Justin Harris directed the group’s attention to issues with city vehicles such as having passengers during city business and taking cars home. Bowerman asked why there are police cars in Brentwood. There was discussion about Chief Nelson’s policy to allow officers to take their patrol cars home in order to insure a faster response time.  Bowerman said the policy needs to be enforced to protect city liability.  The mayor said she would “sit down” with department heads.  Treasurer Drymon mentioned that smoking in city vehicles is in violation of the Clean Air Act.

Bowerman noted the police department is short one officer and the city is short two employees. He also reported seeing a police officer using facebook while on duty.  Harris said someone had printed a political page from his web site and put it on a city bulletin board. 

Present at the May 12 meeting were Mayor Jan Throgmorton, City Treasurer Kristie Drymon, Council member- committee member Justin Harris, committee members Charlie Rossetti and Brian Bowerman. Absent were Kenny Schultz and Mike Mitchell.

The next meeting will be June 23 at 5:30. The planned topic is employee insurance.

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