Nepotism Policy on the Table in Garden Grove

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After more than a year of controversy over the hiring of Mayor Bruce Broadwater’s son as a firefighter and the employment of relatives of other high-ranking officials, the Garden Grove city council Tuesday will discuss changing its municipal code to prohibit the employment of relatives of high-ranking officials. 

In 2000, the city adopted a policy prohibiting the employment of relatives of city council members, department directors, the city manager and anyone working as a primary assistant to the city manager.

That ban on employment disappeared when the city adopted a new policy in 2005 stating no person can be disqualified from or be treated favorably for employment in Garden Grove, based on the fact that they are related to a city official.

On Tuesday’s agenda is an ordinance that would reinstate the 2000 ban on employment of relatives, with a few added exemptions.

Current employees would not be affected by adoption of the ordinance, “as there are a number of employees, in various departments, who could be impacted by reinstating the former nepotism policy,” according to the city staff report.

Relatives of officials could still apply to work 1,000 hours or less as a part-time employee, subject to city manager approval, while part-time employees hired prior to September 2014 would also still be eligible for full-time employment.

The ordinance also states that no employee relative hired before September 2014 “shall, for that reason alone, be required to leave City employment.”

Last year, Voice of OC reported at least eight city hall employees were relatives of high-ranking officials. 

Broadwater’s 37-year-old son Jeremy was sworn in as a firefighter last October, beating out 500 other applicants. Jeremy Broadwater has been criticized by fellow firefighters and supervisors for potentially life-threatening mistakes, according to a recent report in the Orange County Register

Three of city manager Matthew Fertal’s sons, as well as his niece, have also worked for the city as interns and in part- and full-time positions.

Finance Director Kingsley Okereke’s two daughters, and city councilmember Kris Beard’s son Casey, have also worked temporary summer jobs in the city’s recreation department.

The council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.. To read the full agenda, click here.

Please contact Thy Vo directly at thyanhvo@gmail.com.

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