Manatee County Schools tackle nepotism

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MANATEE COUNTY, FLA. - It's always nice to think that hard work pays off.  But some say in the Manatee County School District, it's less about hard work, and more about who you know.

"If I hire my brother, for example, he might get special assignments or he might get a raise, that somebody else in the department would not get...that decreases employee morale," said school board member Karen Carpenter.

She refused to get into specifics, but says there is a large perception that close personal relationships within the district have led to unfairness in the workplace.

"We're establishing a nepotism and fraternization policy as all part of a general effort to improve the management of the Manatee School District," said Carpenter.

Monday night's board meeting saw the first step in that process, with board members voting to hold public hearings on new policies.

Under the proposals, those seeking employment with the district would have to make management aware of relatives or any current personal relationships.

Additionally, employees who become involved romantically with other employees would have forty-eight hours to disclose the relationship with school officials.

The policies would also prevent anyone from promoting or influencing someone they are related to or romantically involved with.  "It's not intended to have punitive consequences necessarily," said Superintendent Rick Mills.

Rather, officials say, to promote a more productive and fair workplace environment.