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Nepotism policy takes shape

The Civil Service Board, tasked with creating a nepotism policy, has declined to ban all relatives of city workers from employment, ultimately recommending that the rule apply only to family members of executives within their respective departments.

The policy would also prohibit relatives of Management Services Director Judie Wilke from employment in the city because she oversees recruitment and selection. Relatives of City Manager Mike Flad and his direct subordinates would not be eligible for city employment either, since he oversees all departments.

The proposed policy changes would not impact existing Burbank employees.

Most of the approximately 1,500 city employees are represented by unions and have memorandums of understanding. Some of those memorandums give officials the power to keep relatives separate, Wilke said.


A provision in the memorandum of understanding for the Burbank Management Assn., for example, says the city “may refuse to place a new hire or promotional candidate under the direct supervision of a relative.” The document also states that the city “may refuse to place a new hire or promotional candidate in the same department, division or facility if the situation may result in potential conflicts of interest.”

But board members have said the language is too weak, is not enforced, and that even the perception of biased appointments could hurt morale.

City officials did not immediately have figures for the number of employees who were relatives of existing or former employees, but board member Zizette Mullins has said the practice is commonplace.

“There are quite a bit of employees who have relatives or through a marriage or second marriage or dating,” she said. “Again, it’s fine to have relatives, as long as we know there is a system and Human Resources is aware of who is working under who.”


Board members also agreed to prohibit dating between supervisors and subordinates “because such conduct creates the possibility, appearance or actual existence, of a conflict of interest,” according to the draft policy.

The Civil Service Board also recommended the policies become part of the Burbank Municipal Code.

The board’s final recommendations will have to be approved by the City Council, which could review the dating and nepotism policies by the end of the year, Wilke said. She also said the unions representing city workers would have an opportunity to see the draft policies.