Councilwoman defends ethics policy in an interview after firing grandson

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by WHAS11

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 16, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 16 at 7:26 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin is sticking with her story, she maintains that it was bad judgment to hire her grandson given his extensive and continuous criminal history, but she says nepotism wasn't the reason she did it.

Gary Boehler has faced as many as 31 criminal charges over the last nine years, though most have been dismissed. Until he was fired Tuesday after his most recent arrest, he was making $25 an hour working for his grandmother.  For a time he was paid while in jail.

The 2010 ethics rules do clearly prohibit metro council members and staff from having family members work directly for them, but the metro council left a loop hole.   A grandfather clause that allowed family members already employed, including Shanklin's grandson and family of two other council members, to keep their jobs. So Shanklin says she doesn't see a need to make any changes to the policy.

“If a new person came in they could not be related to you so this is already in place, there would not have to be any change”, says Shanklin.

However there are still other known family members of metro employees to whom that ethics policy doesn't apply. Mayor Greg Fischer weighed in, saying “If there's any question from the public, it needs to be revisited, if it gets to that level... I would encourage them to take a look at it.

The former chair of the council ethics committee says the grandfather clause was not made to specifically for council members. There are other city offices including the Mayor, Sheriff and department heads that could potentially be affected by the nepotism rules.

WHAS11 has also filed a public records request for salaries of all legislative aides to council members to see how the $25 an hour salary of councilwoman Shanklin's grandson measures up. WHAS11's Karma Dickerson has the exclusive, click on the video player above for more.
 

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