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 Nepotism

1997-20 City Housing Authority

A City Housing Authority may hire a relative of a board member if the relative is qualified, subject to W. Va. Code Rule § 158-6.

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1998-05 County Solid Waste Authority 

A County Solid Waste Authority may hire the director’s qualified spouse, absent favoritism and subject to proper recusal.


1998-21​ City Housing Authority

A City Housing Authority may hire the spouse of a Board member, absent favoritism and subject to proper recusal.

2007-07 Mayor
Appointment of Mayor’s son as City Attorney would create “inescapable” conflict of interest

2012-03 County Agency

  • Ethics Act does not prohibit County Agency from employing Supervisor’s son, even though they live in the same house, so long as the Supervisor is completely removed from the hiring process.
  • Ethics Act does not prohibit County Agency from employing Supervisor’s son even though they live in the same house.
  • Supervisor employed by County Agency is not a county officer and therefore is not subject to provisions of W. Va. Code § 61-10-15.
  • General rule:  Public servant should not supervise a relative. 
  • Supervisor employed by County Agency may supervise son on emergency calls and while in the field.
2012-24 Mayor
  • May reside with father who is employed by City.
  • May not exercise supervisory control over his father/city employee.
  • May not conduct his father’s evaluations, set his schedule, authorize overtime, or approve father’s direct supervisor’s recommendations which directly affect the terms and conditions of his father’s employment.
  • Must recuse himself from personnel matters which uniquely affect his father as opposed to matters affecting his father as a class of five or more similarly situated employees.
  • May participate in collective bargaining agreement negotiations with union of City employees of which father is a member.
  • Must recuse himself from the negotiation of any provision in collective bargaining agreement which uniquely affects his father, but may vote on the collective bargaining agreement in its entirety.
2013-01 Mayor
  • City may employ mayor’s daughter, subject to limitations.
  • Governing body must advertise all positions in which member of body knows in advance that family member is interested therein.
  • Affected member must recuse him/herself from all decisions regarding candidates, including: deciding whether position needs to be filled; writing job description or establishing job requirements; reviewing applications or resumes; interviewing applicants; ranking applicants; and participating in decision-making process.
  • If relative is hired, affected member must be completely recused from all personnel matters related to that relative, including without limitation: salary, raises, promotion, discipline, termination or lay-offs, unless that relative is member of class of five or more.
  • For recusal to be proper, official shall disclose her/his conflict of interest and leave room during discussion, deliberation and vote thereon. Meeting minutes shall reflect official’s recusal.
  • May not: 
    • informally attempt to influence official action on behalf of relative; 
    • “lobby” fellow members of governing body to take favorable action on relative’s behalf; or  attempt to influence relative’s supervisor to take favorable action.
    •  May not supervise any relative or relative’s supervisor.
2019-03 County School Superintendent
Teachers may not prearrange relatives to substitute teach in their absence or place their relatives on a preferred list of substitutes when there are others with the authority to make these decisions.  

2020-13 Principal
A school principal's spouse, sister and brother-in-law may be employed at the same school where he serves as the principal, but he may not be involved in hiring or supervising them.

2021-04 Prosecutor
A Prosecutor may not continue to employ her boyfriend because he received an unfair advantage in the hiring process as the Prosecutor did not advertise the position.


2021-08​ County Board of Education
The Ethics Act does not require a member of a Board of Education (“BOE”) to recuse herself from updates on a lawsuit filed against the BOE by a sibling, who is a former employee of the BOE, when there is no financial relationship between the siblings and the lawsuit does not relate to the sibling’s prior employment with the BOE (partially overrules Advisory Opinions 1999-19, 2011-15 and 2011-16).​

2021-20 County Commission
A sheriff’s son may be employed as the director of ​courthouse security if the sheriff’s chief deputy is responsible for hiring for this position and supervising the son.  

2022-03 City Council Member 
A city council member’s son may serve as the city’s municipal judge.  The council member may not participate in or vote on matters affecting his employment or working conditions unless the matter affects him as a member of a class of five or more similarly situated individuals.  

2022-08 County Council 
The father of a deputy sheriff may serve on the deputy civil service commission.  He must recuse himself if a matter uniquely affects the employment or working conditions of his son, but he may vote if his son is affected in the same manner as five or more similarly situated deputies. 
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