KBS Reference Desk: Nepotism & Reassignment

Q:        Our Superintendent’s wife is currently employed as a teacher. She worked at the District for several years before the Superintendent was hired. The Superintendent’s wife has now obtained principal certification and the Superintendent would like to reassign her from the position of teacher to assistant principal. Would this reassignment violate nepotism laws?

A:        No, a Superintendent is not considered a “public official” for purposes of  nepotism statutes when making decisions concerning employee assignments.

Board Policy DBE (LEGAL) provides that a public official may not appoint a person to a position that is compensated by public funds if the person is related to the public official within the third degree or by marriage within the second degree. A school superintendent is a “public official” subject to nepotism provisions only when making a decision pursuant to authority delegated by the Board to select district personnel, not for purposes of evaluation or assignment. Texas Education Code section 11.201 provides the Superintendent “administrative authority and responsibility for the assignment . . . of all personnel of the District.” Therefore, the Superintendent possesses reassignment authority in his own right, rather than by delegation from the board, rendering nepotism laws inapplicable to decisions concerning assignment. See Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. GA-0910. Also note, a similar analysis applies to relatives of board members. Because a school board has no authority to assign personnel, board members are not public officials for purposes of nepotism laws with regard to reassignment. See Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. GA-0123. Thus, unless prohibited by local policy, the Superintendent can assign all school employees without fear of violating nepotism provisions.   This is true even when the reassignment results in a promotion.

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