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Livingston Passes First Reading Defining Mayor’s Hiring Powers, Nepotism

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Livingston Passes First Reading Defining Mayor’s Hiring Powers, Nepotism

Livingston approved the first reading of charter changes allowing the city mayor to hire and suspend employees without board approval.

Department heads would be exempt from the change approved Monday night. The city also approved the first reading of changes to its nepotism policy. City Attorney John Meadows addressed changes the board requested last month.

“This amended policy would read that no member of an immediate family shall be employed under the same line of supervision, within the same department,” Meadows said. “This does not preclude the employment of immediate family members under other lines of supervision.”

Meadows said immediate family has been defined as children, step-children, parents, step-parents, siblings, step-siblings, spouse, in-laws, domestic partners and people living in the same house as a city employee. Meadows said the change to define relationships was recommended by MTAS.

“If a personal, romantic or intimate relationship is established by two or more employees post-hire it is the responsibility and obligation of the employee involved to disclose the existence of the relationship to the department head and mayor when a conflict or potential conflict arises due to the relationship affecting employment. The town reserves the right to make any and all employment decisions in the best interest of the town of Livingston,” Meadows said.

Meadows said that Livingston is an at-will employer, allowing the town to terminate employees at any time with or without cause.

The board approved first reading of both charter changes in 4-1 votes. Alderman David Langford was the only board member in attendance who voted against the two changes.

“Everybody knows how I feel about this situation, I just want to make it aware that this board is responsible for every employee that works for the city of Livingston,” Langford said. “I think it’s our job to do the hiring and the firing.”

Alderman Kelly Coleman responded to Langford, stating what he believes the board’s role to be.

“Our role is to set policy,” Coleman said. “The management, the day-to-day management, including the hiring and firing is the job of the mayor.”

The charter change was tabled at last month’s meeting to review the city’s nepotism policy. When the change was originally presented, the mayor was going to have the power to terminate employees. That was changed to a suspension, over fears of a mayor coming into office and terminating multiple employees at the same time.


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