LA VERKIN – La Verkin City Administrator Kyle Gubler answered pointed questions yesterday raised by a few Washington County residents about possible improprieties relating to the city’s hiring of an employee who was a relative of its mayor.
Concerns voiced by a small number of residents apparently arose from the city’s hiring of the daughter-in-law of Mayor Karl Wilson. Some of these complaints were reported to have claimed that the hiring violated a La Verkin City policy of nepotism.
Gubler said Tuesday that no complaints of this nature had ever been expressed to him, that he had no knowledge of their existence, and that if members of the city council or Mayor Wilson had heard of any grievances related to the hiring, Gubler was unaware of it.
Gubler said the daughter-in-law was hired by the city to fill a recently reduced staff. Among them was the resigning of an employee who had been serving as city recorder. These changes had left remaining employees to share an increased workload, according to Gubler.
The city administrator, himself, took on extra work that had been left by the resigning of the former city recorder, he said. To lighten the burden of an increased workload for some city employees, Gubler recommended the city hire an administrative assistant.
To fill the assistant position, the city government advertised for applications. A special committee was then formed. It included Gubler, two members of the city council, and a La Verkin resident who was not a city employee, and who the city council had recommended as a prospective committee member.
Members of this committee reviewed 30 to 40 applications for the administrative assistant position, narrowed them to six, then interviewed the six individual finalists, he said.
Each of the six final applicants were asked to take a series of tests. Members of the committee then chose the applicant whose test scores and other skills were highest. The final applicant chosen ultimately turned out to be a daughter-in-law of the mayor.
“We couldn’t disqualify her because she was the mayor’s daughter-in-law,” Gubler said, “her qualifications were too high. But neither could we hire her simply because she was the mayor’s daughter-in-law.
The choice to hire her, he said, was unanimous, with all members of the committee agreeing that she was the best qualified of all the applicants.
As for the policy involving the hiring of city employees’ relatives, Gubler said the issue had not, to his knowledge, been discussed by committee members during their meetings.