Mon, December 23rd, 2013 - 6:42 am - By Gordon Basichis
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Not long ago I posted this article about the controversy within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and some of the hiring practices that have taken place. The article was entitled…”L.A.Sheriff’s Hired Applicants With Misconduct–Ignored Background Checks. ”
According to reports, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department hired candidates with unsavory pasts. Background checks were either ignored or serious matters on the reports were overlooked.
Now we learn that the Sheriff’s Department may have practices a certain form of nepotism. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times….”Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca maintained a special hiring program that granted preferential treatment to the friends and relatives of department officials, including some candidates who were given jobs despite having troubled histories, according to interviews and internal employment records reviewed by The Times.
The program, known as “Friends of the Sheriff,” has been in existence for at least eight years. Some high-ranking sheriff’s officials injected themselves into the vetting process to lobby for favored job candidates, records show.
Among those hired was a man convicted of sexual battery, according to court records. His friend — and contact with the department — was Baca’s driver. Another hired under the program was arrested last week on a federal weapons charge in connection with the FBI’s corruption investigation in the sheriff’s jails. His tie to the agency was his brother, a deputy.”
Nepotism is pretty prominent in a lot of industries. Having worked in show business, I found the entertainment industry practically thrived on nepotism. But as with the Sheriff’s department, nepotism is not necessary the optimum system for recruiting the most qualified candidates. Instead, often you get the bust outs or someone’s desultory kid who otherwise can’t find a job. You can avoid the strange and the excellent in exchange for the familiar and the mediocre.
In fairness, Sheriff’s officials have denied they showed favoritism to friends and relatives. Maybe that’s the case. But in any event they were in fact hiring candidates that could hardly prove the kind of quality individuals Los Angeles County expects in its Deputy Sheriffs.
The Times article goes on to note…”A day after Whitmore’s comments, sheriff’s officials told The Times the special hiring program was being eliminated and a policy was being drafted to prohibit top brass from lobbying lower-level background investigators on behalf of job applicants.”
I am sure there will be more stories and a further investigation. We shall see how this plays out.