Yay or nay on nepotism

The good or bad associated with nepotism, whether in the workplace, on athletic teams or in politics is almost always contingent upon the self-discipline of those involved. The reason some companies prohibit relatives from working together is usually because of the inherent risk of personal issues being injected into the workplace. That, as you can imagine, can create a variety of problems with respect to productivity, co-workers, morale and the like.

With the possibility of this year’s school board election resulting in members of the same family sitting on the board, it is an issue worth discussing. If the interest brought to our attention is representative of voters in general, then the buzz is credible. The school board, and its abilities to get things done, plays a critical role in the growth of our students and the vitality of our city. As a result, who we elect says a lot about the value we place on the role of the board and the relationships between its members.

I’m confident that four of the five candidates running for the two open seats on the school board are competent. Each of them has the kind of experience that a school board needs both from a management perspective as well as the ability to work together.

That said, there are those among our readers who struggle with the notion of nepotism in the workplace and, in much the same way, on the school board.

As with any of our properties in North Texas, the Waxahachie Media Group doesn’t prohibit family members from working together, but that’s largely because we know all of them personally and the standards are clear. Although part of a large company, we operate in a family like culture and it works well for us. However, any compromise of those standards and we would make a change immediately.

It’s a bit different when talking about a school board or a city council if for no other reason than any compromise of the integrity of either, unless illegal, can’t be dealt with as quickly. I am certain those we’re referring to here - Mickie Hill, David Hill and James Villarreal - understand the extraordinary burden on each of them to remain committed to the offices either they hold or are seeking to hold and that the concern isn’t all that significant.

The city and the ISD have an important partnership that requires both entities to work collaboratively on a number of common projects. The new high school is but one, big example of that. A high level of compatibility is necessary to build a high school of that size on land that size with city services required to create an infrastructure that size. As such, the city and ISD must work well together.

Nepotism, if not well thought out and entrusted to folks who can handle the burden, can be a heavy weight on the shoulders of progress.

I trust those involved know the risks and are prepared to mitigate any distraction created by family members holding a place on two distinct yet connected groups charged with growing our city and schools. It’s yours, the voters, to decide if such a risk is legit and objectionable or if, in fact, it’s acceptable.

On May 7, you’ll have the chance to make that decision clear.


Scott Brooks serves as the publisher of the Waxahachie Daily Light. Contact Scott at 469-517-1440 or by email at sbrooks@waxahachietx.com. Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottBrooks1405