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Local News

Joliet eyes anti-nepotism rules, new dog law

Joliet City Hall
Joliet City Hall

JOLIET – The city is proposing an anti-nepotism ordinance that would prohibit hiring relatives of elected officials.

The ordinance also would prohibit one relative from supervising another, although it would not apply to any such work arrangements that exist now.

Interim City Attorney Chris Regis said the nepotism ordinance has been on his to-do list for some time.

"The current ordinance is very weak. I think we needed something stronger than that," he said.

The ordinance now primarily bars Joliet elected officials and employees from advocating for relatives trying to get a city job.

Nepotism at city hall has been an issue at times, especially during election campaigns.

In the last mayoral campaign, both former Mayor Tom Giarrante, who lost, and current Mayor Bob O'Dekirk, had relatives working at city hall.

Regis said he will present the anti-nepotism proposal to the City Council Land Use and Legislative Committee on Thursday.

The committee meets at 4 p.m.in the council chambers at Joliet City Hall, 150 W. Jefferson St.

The city does have a nepotism ordinance in its Code of Ethics addressing conflicts of interest. The ordinance bars elected officials or employees from advocating for relatives in jobs over which they have control. It also prohibits them from advocating for someone to be hired for a city job in exchange for consideration of a relative for a job.

But the current ordinance imposes no restrictions on the hiring of relatives of elected officials. It also does not address situations in which one relative supervises another.

Puppy law

The committee also will review a proposal for an ordinance regulating puppy sales.

The proposal no longer would limit pet stores to getting dogs from shelters, rescue groups and animal control centers as had been proposed before.

Instead, sellers, which would include businesses and individuals, would be able to buy from breeders as long as they are licensed and in good standing.

Pet advocates had sought the stricter rules, saying regulation of breeders by the federal government was too lax.

The ordinance also creates a city prohibition against operating a puppy mill or to be an unlicensed breeder in Joliet.

"I think it's a compromise that everyone can live with," Regis said.

TWO PROPOSALS
• Anti-Nepotism Law: Prohibits hiring of relatives of elected officials; bars relatives from supervising relatives.
• Dog law: Sellers must acquire dogs from licensed breeders in good standing; prohibits puppy mills in Joliet.

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