At long last, the city of Burbank has put the kibosh on nepotism within City Hall, with the City Council acting this week to put into place strict changes to existing policies. Division heads will no longer be allowed to hire family members into their departments. Nor will relatives of council members, the city manager, the assistant city manager or the management services director be hired.
There are even new restrictions involving dating situations. To some, that might seem overreaching; but now that city leaders are taking the problem to heart and taking steps to correct something they were apparently too timid to do earlier, it's understandable that the policy is so all-encompassing. City leaders would apparently like the issue resolved once and for all.
It's hard to believe it's taken so long for this remedy to be worked out; in 2011 we reported that the head of the Civil Service Board had discovered that every department in the city had engaged in the practice of hiring family members, a dicey policy that can — and did —lead to all sorts of problems. Morale issues that develop when a relative captures a prize job that might well have gone to someone more qualified are just the part of the problem. When nepotism is allowed, financial and other shenanigans are easier to hide; security is compromised.
We're glad to finally see the practice of nepotism curbed. It is imperative that citizens feel confident they can trust the city government to run a clean and fair operation.