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Nepotism concerns squash Lawrence hiring proposal

By Nancy Glasscock 340-2443

MOULTON — A recommendation at a Tuesday school board meeting to hire the wife of East Lawrence High School's principal failed after one board member voiced concerns that the hire could violate nepotism laws.

Board member Jackie Burch and Chairman Bobby Diggs voted to hire Rebecca Nichols, the wife of Principal Ricky Nichols, as a clerical aide at East Lawrence High School, while Wendell Logan abstained and Gary Bradford voted no.

Logan said he was abstaining from the vote so it could be brought up for discussion at another board meeting.

"I think it would be a good idea if we stayed as close to the nepotism law as we could," Bradford said.

Superintendent Dexter Rutherford said the board needs to be more than close to the law.

"If it's a law, we don't need to be close to it, we need to be all in it and obey it totally," he said.

Diggs said Tuesday wasn't the first meeting that included recommended approval of personnel who are related to other school system employees, and if the board changes its hiring practices it should meet another time to discuss the issue.

"I think if we're going to entertain or enforce rules or regulations on this, I think it needs to be done after this," Diggs said.

Bradford disagreed.

"I think now is as good a time as any," he said.

Other business

Though the board didn't approve a motion to hire Nichols, it approved hiring a maintenance employee after a similar discussion.

The board approved a recommendation to hire Chad Shelton in the school system's Maintenance Department after Bradford said Shelton has relatives who also work in the Maintenance Department.

Bradford cast the only vote against hiring Shelton.

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