(a) As used in this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) BOARD, BOARD OF EDUCATION, or EXECUTIVE OFFICER. These terms shall have the same meaning as provided in Section 16-22-15.
(2) RELATIVE. The spouse, a dependant, an adult child or his or her spouse, a parent, a spouse's parent, or a sibling or his or her spouse, of another person.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in this section, an executive officer may not recommend a relative for employment to his or her board.
(c) If a board publishes a vacancy announcement pursuant to Section 16-22-15 and a relative of the executive officer submits an application or otherwise seeks the advertised position, the executive officer shall take no further direct or indirect action regarding the posted vacancy. The executive officer shall submit the application to the chair of the board of education who shall select an impartial person to conduct any interview and make a determination as to whether to recommend the applicant to the full board for consideration and if so, issue a report in writing. The board shall consider the recommendation and written report without any comment or input from the executive officer.
(d) If a board publishes a vacancy announcement pursuant to Section 16-22-15 and a relative of a board member submits an application or otherwise seeks the advertised position, that member shall recuse himself or herself from any discussion, debate, consideration, or vote on the executive officer's recommendation regarding that vacancy.
(e) If a board publishes a vacancy announcement pursuant to Section 16-22-15 and a relative of a principal or other supervisor who is charged with conducting interviews, vetting or recommending candidates, or otherwise taking part in the hiring process submits an application or otherwise seeks the advertised position, the principal or supervisor may not take any part in the hiring process, directly or indirectly, and any interviews, vetting, or recommendations shall be assigned by the executive officer to another administrator in the system who does not report to the disqualified principal or administrator.
(f) Following September 1, 2015, no person shall be eligible to apply for or be hired into a position for which his or her immediate supervisor would be a relative.
(g) A person may apply for and be hired into a position where a relative would be in the applicant's chain of command if hired but would not be the applicant's immediate supervisor, so long as the applicant's supervisor made no recommendation, cast no vote, and otherwise had no direct or indirect involvement concerning the employee's hiring.
(h) If a position is filled by a relative of an executive officer, board member, principal, or other supervisor, and a violation of this section occurs, any other applicant for the position shall have standing to bring a declaratory judgment action in the circuit court with jurisdiction over the board within 21 days of the board's action to fill the position. If the court finds that this section was violated, the court shall declare the action of the board in hiring the relative null and void, order the executive officer and board to advertise the position again in accordance with Section 16-22-15, and declare the relative initially hired ineligible for employment in that position.
(i)(1) A person may not evaluate the performance of, have input into the compensation of, or otherwise set the terms and conditions of employment of a subordinate relative.
(2) If an executive officer receives a recommendation for a personnel action affecting his or her relative from the principal or other supervisor of that relative, the executive officer shall delegate a third party to take action or make a recommendation to the board as provided in subsection (c).
(j) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500) or by imprisonment not to exceed one year, or both. A willful violation of this section shall subject the employee and the person or persons within the fourth degree of affinity or consanguinity of the employee to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Last modified: May 3, 2021