Grand County officials discuss nepotism | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County officials discuss nepotism

Hank Shell
hshell@skyhidailynews.com

It's unclear whether any action will come from a county policy discussion on nepotism.

The Grand County Board of Commissioners held the discussion about perceived nepotism at a policy workshop on Monday, April 6.

The topic of nepotism has long been simmering among certain circles in the county, and community members have discussed what they say is perceived nepotism in recent meetings of the High Country Conservatives.

Citizen Eden Recor asked the board to address nepotism at its March 24 meeting.

“We’ve found nothing that says you can’t treat people differently as long as you’re not discriminating against them.”Jack DiColaCounty attorney

During the discussion, County Attorney Jack DiCola said he was unaware of any law prohibiting nepotism and that the matter was ultimately up to the discretion of the board of commissioners.

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"That is not prohibited by the law that I know of, we've found nothing that says you can't treat people differently as long as you're not discriminating against them," DiCola said. "I mean that's the best way to put it."

The county does not allow employees to "audit, verify, receive or be entrusted with monies" from family members or relatives, but a clause from the policy that prohibits relatives from directly or indirectly exercising "supervisory, appointment or dismissal authority or disciplinary action" over another relative was removed by the county personnel committee in March 2008.

Commissioner Kris Manguso said meeting minutes indicated the policy was changed because "the committee identified that the regulations with regard to nepotism were not being followed, therefore there was no need for the nepotism policy."

However, County Assessor Tom Weydert, who is a member of the current committee, said he believed the policy had been shelved for future discussion.

"Right now the policy is too broad, and that's what my takeaway was from that meeting," Weydert said.

Some citizens said they believed that nepotism was just part of the problem.

"I think that the discussion really is broader than nepotism; it deals with favoritism," said citizen Ted Kaplysh.

Commissioner James Newberry said that, in the past, the board of commissioners had approved changes in structure for specific employees to avoid giving relatives certain power over other relatives.

The discussion was interspersed with a number of other issues that citizens brought up, including the perceived existence of "black lists" precluding people from county jobs.

Newberry disputed that such lists exist, countering that those in question weren't the best candidates for the job they'd applied for.

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