Nepotism in Flames: Possible Changes Coming to Wellington Fire Department Policy

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One of the final items on the Wellington City Council agenda during a meeting on Wednesday was the discussion of a possible policy change regarding nepotism in the city’s fire department.

Matt Perea from the department was in attendance and began the discussion on the policy by explaining the current policy, which reads to keep the health, safety and welfare of citizens in mind that only two members of immediate family may serve on the fire department.

In addition to the limit, the policy also reads that only one family member may hold the position of officer and that no spouse nor significant other may be on the team in addition to their partner, according to Perea.

The fire department currently abides by the policy, keeping family members apart as much as possible, including riding in different cars and keeping them on opposite ends of a fire if both are needed to respond.

Perea appeared on behalf of the department, who have expressed a desire to see the policy revoked in its entirety.

“We’re the only department in the county that restricts this kind of thing,” Perea said at the meeting.

Giving an example of a possible change, Perea explained his feeling that four members of the same family could be allowed to be on the team and that spouses and significant others be allowed as well.

“You’re allowing two members of the immediate family, why can’t that be a husband and wife?” Perea asked the council.

Councilmember Kirt Tatton expressed his views on the matter, explaining his hesitation at the possibility of having an entire family suffer while on the job, citing such a situation as the reason for the policy in the first place.

After discussion, a final motion on the matter was postponed for Perea to research and find what the policies of other departments are and report to the council on his findings.

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