Two Burbank City Council members voiced concerns about a provision in the city’s new nepotism policy that bans relatives of many City Hall executives and those serving on the dais from being municipal employees.
The new rules affect relatives of the city manager, executives in the city manager’s office, management service director and City Council members from working together all at once for the city.
Once council members or city employees complete their service to the city, family members may then be hired. Those employees who are leaving will not be affected.
Councilman Jess Talamantes felt that following the new rule would make managers overlook qualified applicants.
Talamantes stated,” There’s a lot of sons and daughters who follow in their parents’ footsteps, and that’s just because the good seeds don’t fall too far from the trunk,” Talamantes said. “Shame on me for wanting to serve my community and be on the City Council and then tell my kids, ‘No, you can’t be a firefighter in Burbank.”
The councilman later stated he fully supported the overall policy.
Councilman Gary Bric thought the ban on hiring relatives was strict based on the fact no on one on the dais has the power to hire city employees except for the city manager and city treasurer.
Bric remarked, “That would be like saying ‘OK, I’m running for City Council.’ My son’s got an application to the city, my son saying, ‘Dear God, I hope you lose so I can get a job with the city,’” Bric said. “That doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Councilwoman Emily Gabel- Luddy said that while she understood those concerns, she supported the policy.
According to the councilwoman, “Now that we’re in public service, it’s a whole different issue of public trust,” she said. “This policy, therefore, tries to walk a very fine line and I think it does a good job.”
At the same time, Mayor Dave Golonski felt that parts of the policy- include the ban on hiring relatives of the council and city manager- should go further and put into a ordinance.
Councilman David Gordon agreed and said, “The city manager should not be the person to be able to change these policies after we note and file them,” Gordon said.
Since they could not settle the issue, the City Council unanimously agreed to put off any action until the interim City Manager Ken Pulskamp on Dec.3 which will give him a chance to review it.
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