Hobart councilman suggests municipalities file suit against anti-nepotism law

2012-06-24T20:45:00Z 2012-06-25T16:00:04Z Hobart councilman suggests municipalities file suit against anti-nepotism lawBy Deborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

HOBART | City Council members unanimously approved a state-mandated nepotism policy last week, but they made it clear they weren't pleased about the order.

Matthew Claussen, D-at large, said he even hoped other cities and towns would work together to file a lawsuit against the mandate.

"I want to go on record that I believe it is unconstitutional and discriminatory," Claussen said.

City Councilman Jerry Herzog, D-1st, said, "The policy is a joke."

City Attorney Anthony DeBonis said the City Council doesn't have a choice in the matter because the state set a deadline for communities to adopt the policy.

"If the city doesn't pass the ordinance by July 1, the state can refuse to certify our budget," DeBonis said.

The policy bans city employees and elected officials from directly supervising a relative or entering into or renewing a contact with a business that is wholly or partially owned by a relative.

Any city employee hired before Sunday would be grandfathered in, Clerk-Treasurer Deborah Longer said.

The new policy will not affect council members with relatives who work for the city, because council members do not directly supervise anyone, Longer said.

"The policy is so broad, we're still trying to figure everything out," said council President David Vinzant, D-4th.

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