No favoritism for family members?

Taking a page from Mayor Nutter, who established similar policies last year for city agencies he controls, City Commissioners Anthony Clark, Al Schmidt, and Stephanie Singer approved executive orders last week to prohibit sexual harassment and nepotism in their office.

Arguably, state laws already restrict sexual harassment and the hiring of family members by public officials or employees. But that didn't stop the commissioners' former chair, Marge Tartaglione, from hiring her daughter Rene as her top deputy, until Rene was bounced from the job by the city Ethics Board for continuing to engage in ward-level politics, in violation of the City Charter.

The commissioners' new rules say that no one in the office can play any role in hiring or supervising any immediate family member, including parents, children, siblings, in-laws, or "life-partners." The commissioners run the city's voting system as the Board of Elections.

Unmentioned in the brief discussion was the fact that two of Clark's relatives already have low-level positions in the office. His brother, Alexander Clark, and his niece, Jacquelyn Bellinger, were hired in 2008, Clark's first year in office. They both work at entry-level civil-service jobs making $30,584 a year.

Clark said both had asked him about working for the commissioners. He said he referred them to Marge Tartaglione, who made the hiring decision. They now report to supervisors in a building at Delaware Avenue and Spring Garden - about a mile from Clark's City Hall office. Clark said he doesn't know what their assignments are.