Friday, July 30, 2010
County Bosses Report Family Ties
By Dan McKay
Journal Staff Writer
About 16 percent of Bernalillo County's supervisors — 60 in all — reported that they have relatives who also work for county government, according to surveys conducted for the county manager.
All but a handful of the supervisors said their relatives don't report directly to them, and many don't work in the same department. The surveys, however, didn't explicitly pose a broader question — whether the relatives are within the supervisor's "chain of command." Some employees answered that question anyway.
The surveys were completed this month on orders from County Manager Thaddeus Lucero, who said he will consider moving employees who work under their relatives.
The surveys come after a county-funded investigation revealed that the son of Deputy County Manager John Dantis had been hired in violation of the county nepotism policy, which prohibits having "near relatives" within a supervisor's chain of command.
About 375 supervisors responded to the survey, and another 50 have yet to do so. The county is trying to reach those who didn't respond. Supervisors who fail to disclose relatives could face discipline, Lucero has warned.
Here's a look at some of the responses so far:
• Deputy County Manager Julie Morgas Baca said her daughter works at a community center as a summer hire.
• Deputy Fire Chief Frank Barka reported a daughter who works in his department, but he said she's not within his chain of command.
• Assistant Parks Director Kevin Callahan said he has a daughter, brother and nephew-in-law working in Parks and Recreation. None report directly to him, he said.
• Fire Chief John Garcia said his daughter works in his department through a job mentoring program.
• James Gonzales, who works in the Sheriff's Department, mentioned that his brother is Manny Gonzales III, who was appointed as sheriff late last year.
• Jail Chief Ron Torres reported that two nephews, a cousin and a sister-in-law work as corrections officers, but he said they don't report directly to him.
County Commission Chairman Art De La Cruz said commissioners have asked Lucero to strengthen the nepotism policy and create a process to resolve those who are in violation of it.
"Nepotism, and the appearance of nepotism, exists in both the private and public sector," De La Cruz said. "What concerns me is that there should not be family members in a supervisor's chain of command."
Lucero wasn't immediately available for comment to the Journal.