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Oct 9, 2013 1:45 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Sunnyside School Board addresses accusations of nepotism

TUCSON - Allegations of favoritism and unethical hiring practices took center stage at Sunnyside's Governing Board meeting Tuesday night.

A heated discussion about nepotism and whether board members, or the superintendent, should be involved in the hiring of relatives.

The superintendent's brother in law was hired five years ago. It recently came to light that in 2001 he plead guilty to selling drugs. The governing board at the time knew about it.

Webster defines nepotism as favoritism based on kinship. Some allege Superintendent Dr. Manuel Isquierdo is guilty of his, after his brother in law was hired as a school monitor, despite a felony drug conviction.

Sunnyside resident Becky Quintero expressed her frustration. "I am appalled of the idea, that this board knowingly hires employees on their friends and family plan at the Sunnyside School District and say that they are innocent of nepotism."

Isquierdo says, "I think there's pride in hiring family, pride in hiring graduates, and I don't see that as nepotism."

Isquierdo denies that any Sunnyside employees receive preferential treatment, saying Human Resources follows a strict 'criteria points' process, the same goes when reprimanding an employee.

"I stand on my HR record of consistence, that we have taken a stand and disciplined when we've had to." says Isquierdo.

To make sure everyone's on the same page, the district's attorney clarified Arizona's anti-nepotism statute: A school board member may vote on hiring decisions and compensation unless it involves a spouse or child.

From all accounts, the superintendent's brother in law is thriving at his job. He was recently promoted to security coordinator.

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