Nepotism policy to be revised in Baldwin-Whitehall
A family connection won't help prospective employees get that dream job in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District.
Board members, in a 5-4 vote last week, approved three policies outlining guidelines for nepotism that will ban relatives at any level from being hired in the district in the future.
Board members Karen Brown, Tracy Macek, David Solenday and board President Larry Pantuso dissented.
“This is reform. This is good government. This is what should have been in the Baldwin-Whitehall district 20 years ago,” said board member Martin Michael Schmotzer, who pleaded with his colleagues to approve the policy revisions and a new policy for classified employees. “A lot of the problems that we face in employment, in management, can be directly related back to – you have people that are managing relatives.”
Yet some board members said the policy is too restrictive.
The district has a focus on hiring Baldwin-Whitehall residents, and this policy would prohibit any relatives of the 1,700 employees from getting a job in the district, board President Larry Pantuso said.
“I'm not so sure that if I work in the janitorial department somewhere and my cousin is an English teacher and they want to teach at the high school — I'm not sure that that is a conflict,” he said. “The way this is written, it would be. I just think we need to tweak a little bit of the grammar and the verbiage in here,” Pantuso said.
Schmotzer said he has pushed for a nepotism policy that is this black and white for eight years.
A policy school officials approved in 2008 for administrative and professional employees focused on potential employees' relationships to board members and administrators.
“What are people afraid of? Are you afraid of reform? Are you afraid that relatives can no longer be hired in the school district?” Schmotzer asked. “This is equal opportunity. You can't hire any relatives of the board. You can't hire any relatives of administration. You can't hire relatives from professional staff, the teachers.”
A vote to table the policies failed in a 5-4 vote, with Brown, Macek, Solenday and Pantuso voting to table.
Superintendent Randal Lutz said the policy has many positives but could make it difficult when it comes to hiring bus drivers or custodial staff.
“We have difficulty filling out some of the areas now,” Lutz said. “It may create vacancies that are hard to fill.”
The superintendent could not quantify how many relatives were working in the district or if any employees were being supervised by a relative.
“With as many relatives as could be here, I would have to say, ‘Potentially yes,'” Lutz said.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Issues surround apartment complex
- Whitehall pool hours extended
- Impact of cuts won’t be known right away
- Noise from private practice track irks Baldwin Borough residents
- Council considers dog area at Baldwin Borough park
- Nepali volunteers get tickets for Baldwin musical
- Read a magazine on your phone with Zinio
- County to improve Old Clairton stretch
- Programs on tap to celebrate Pleasant Hills Public Library’s 70th anniversary
- Brentwood Borough School Board approves major cutbacks