INDIANAPOLIS -- Members of the Senate Committee on Local Government voted 9-0 last Wednesday in favor of legislation authored by Sen. Connie Lawson (R-Danville) to eliminate nepotism at all levels of Indiana government.
Senate Bill 170 would prohibit an individual from serving in a direct supervisory role over a family member within any government unit.
The legislation does grandfather those individuals employed prior to July 1, 2012 unless the person has a break in employment from the government unit. It also specifies that a volunteer firefighter or a precinct election officer is not considered employment by a unit of government.
"It's time Indiana removed the cloud of impropriety that arises each time an elected official uses taxpayer dollars to pay a family member salary," Lawson said. "I believe this legislation is fair for all and will help make Indiana government more accountable."
Lawson's legislation would also require public employees elected to serve on an executive or fiscal body of the county, city, town or township that oversees their agencies to decide if they want to remain an employee of that unit or begin their term as an elected official.
"By making this adjustment, we can help ensure trust in local government by eliminating conflicts of interest that could arise when a public employee serves as an elected official and makes decisions on things like budgets and office policies they will directly benefit from," Lawson said.
SB 170 now heads to the full Senate for further action.