Nepotism: “Favoritism by those in power extended toward relatives, esp. by appointing them to desirable positions.” That’s Webster’s definition.

Nepotism rears its favoritism head in all levels of government, from municipal venues to the federal government. Laws on it vary at all levels of government. Many taxing entities turn their heads the other way and ignore nepotism.

It is in the news of late when the AP disclosed that at least a dozen children or other relatives of Energy Department officials have received summer jobs at the department in apparent violation of federal nepotism rules. An inspector general said, “Nepotism or even its appearance can have a decidedly negative impact on morale within an organization.”

It’s a fairness issue. When a relative is on the payroll of a government entity through influence of an official who is related to the person appointed or hired, it rules out someone else as qualified from gaining the position. Forms of nepotism can be seen on elected or appointed boards when an official votes on issues that have a direct impact on a relative. There is a lack of enforcement of rules pertaining to nepotism.

Nepotism does have a negative impact on morale, is not fair and should not be permitted. Complaints about nepotism should be investigated and other actions taken to end it, case by case. There should be strict rules prohibiting it even on the local level.