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Burbank officials consider anti-nepotism policy

The Burbank City Council is expected to consider an anti-nepotism policy this summer that would prevent their family members from being hired to work for the city.

May 16, 2011|By Gretchen Meier, Los Angeles Times

Burbank officials are considering an anti-nepotism policy that would prohibit family members of City Council members and the city manager from being hired.

The draft policy, which is being fine-tuned by the Burbank Civil Service Board, could also extend to department chiefs, although that provision has yet to find consensus.

Commissioners plan to send the draft policy to the City Council this summer. The board's chairman, Nathan Schlossman, said there are familial employee relationships within every city department. The proposed policy, however, would not affect existing Burbank employees.

"This is definitely a step in the right direction," said Civil Service Board member Matt Doyle, who also serves as Glendale's director of human resources. "It's not as strong as the policy in Glendale, but it's a step toward slowly changing the culture in Burbank."

The intent of the proposed change is to balance the need to prevent the appearance of favoritism with the rights of existing employees "who had no control and were not responsible for their relatives running for [City] Council," according to a city report.

The proposal is likely to face some resistance, especially among those who feel the changes may keep out qualified employees.

"I don't want to close the door to any family members," said Mayor Jess Talamantes, a firefighter with the city for more than 30 years. "You go through a testing process, and you have to prove yourself. If you're not worthy, you're not going to be ranked high enough to be offered the position."

gretchen.meier@latimes.com

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