Pinal County tightens nepotism restrictions - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Pinal County tightens nepotism restrictions

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Posted: Friday, June 6, 2008 7:02 pm | Updated: 9:06 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Pinal County officials this week tweaked their policy on hiring relatives in the workplace - restricting relationships not only inside, but outside the county's work force.

The nepotism policy, last updated in 2001, now excludes county employees from participating in any deal that would include the "financial interests of a relative."

Spokesman Joe Pyritz said that the policy changes are not in response to any offenses in the county.

"It's nothing that I have heard of," he said. "They are always looking at different policies."

It's no secret that the county is tightknit. Dolores Doolittle, the treasurer, is the wife of Terry Doolittle, the county manager. Shelly Minter, the sister of the sheriff's public relations officer, Michael Minter, works in the records office of Sheriff Chris Vasquez, Pyritz said.

Those relationships, however, are in line with county policy. Dolores Doolittle is an elected officer. Her husband has power over her budget but doesn't technically oversee any elected office. The county's policy prevents spouses or relatives from directly overseeing one another.

"It's not really true that he is overseeing her job," Pyritz said, noting that the county manager performs no job review over the county's elected officers.

"That happens at the ballot box," he said.

However, the new policy does extend what can be considered nepotism in the county.

Added is the idea of restricting "family members (who) report to the same first-level supervisor; or in the opinion of the elected or appointed official, the Human Resources Director, and/or the county manager, the safety, efficiency, morale or effective administration of the department's operation will be adversely affected."

The new policy then goes on to list six specific instances that could be a nepotism conflict. The prior policy has no specific instances.

Relatives cannot serve on the board if family members are already appointed.

Employees are also not allowed to exercise contract management over a firm that relatives work for or do business with. Employees who become relatives while employed with the county are supposed to resign if there is a conflict.

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