Home Legal Issues Nepotism ruling was the right call

Nepotism ruling was the right call


Ohio Ethics Commission reverses itself. Our opinion: Decision was a victory for Mansfield’s. The Ohio Ethics Commission got it right last week. A ruling by the panel Thursday said the City of Mansfield can hire the sons of the police and fire chiefs while their fathers lead the respective departments.

It’s not just a victory for fire Chief Michael Hartson’s son and police Chief Phil Messer’s son. This ruling keeps the door open for future generations of Ohio residents who want to join their fathers on the safety forces.

The city demonstrated the two chiefs are not involved in the hiring and have been removed from making decisions that affect their sons. That’s wise and we want to see that move remain permanent.

“The city has taken steps to remove the chiefs from the hiring process,” said Jennifer Hardin, chief advisory attorney for the ethics commission.

City officials provided the ethics commission with new information last week after it ruled in July the city shouldn’t hire Philip Messer Jr. and Justin Hartson for the police and fire departments, respectively.

It’s also a relief because the elders Hartson and Messer won’t make a decision to retire prematurely. Both have served Mansfield well and we would have hated to see either one step down early because of the perceived nepotism.

The Ohio Ethics Commission listened to the evidence and made the right call.

This was a victory for the city’s safety forces, Hartson and Messer. But it also bodes well for future generations of police officers and firefighters who want to pursue the same career in public service as their fathers and grandfathers.

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