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Charlton looks into to curbing nepotism hires

July 27, 2010
CHARLTON — Selectmen are expressing concerns about a policy that would prohibit an elected body from hiring relatives.

"I would be worried it would disqualify people who would be a strong asset to the town," said Selectmen Vice Chairman Rick Swensen of the policy Selectman Kathleen Walker plans to propose at the group's next meeting.

The policy, which Walker said she is still drafting, would say "the elected body cannot hire anyone in direct line to them." It would go into effect soon after its approval and would not be retroactive, she said.

"It is called a nepotism policy. It is common in many cities and towns," Walker said. "Somebody's cousin could apply or somebody's uncle … somebody that does not live in the same house."

She raised the issue in response to learning Swensen's son is currently working for the Highway Department and that Selectman Scott Brown's son, worked there last year. Walker never accused either of nepotism over their childrens' hiring.

"People are bothered by [the issue] because it is a perception, [problem]," Walker said.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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