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Relative's hiring draws criticism

Geiger questions why Miller hired son without posting job

Published: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 8:09 a.m. CDT

A week after county board members expressed concern with office holders giving unapproved bonuses, some are now concerned with one of those same office holders hiring a relative.

Chairwoman of the Grundy County Board's Personnel Committee Vicki Geiger told the committee during its special meeting Tuesday she is disappointed Treasurer Marcy Miller is hiring a relative as a part-time employee.

Miller said Wednesday she is hiring her son, Eric Miller.

"I was disappointed in a new hire that came through from an office where the department head has given out $5,000 in bonuses to each of her two employees and now is indicating she is ready to hire a part-time person and that person is related," said Geiger Wednesday.

Hiring a relative is not against policy, but Geiger said as an elected official she feels it is the department head's job to post open positions and find the most-qualified person for the job.

Miller was not present at the personnel meeting, but said Wednesday elected officials do not have to post open positions in their offices. She is hiring her son because he is experienced and holds a degree in business finance.

"Since I don't have a lot of money in the budget, he was hired at $12 a hour, which is a lot less than other employees start at in the county," said Miller.

Her son worked for her office last summer, helping during the busy tax time and did an outstanding job, she said. Therefore, he is already trained for the position and can hit the ground running. Her office deals with a lot of money and she needed someone trustworthy, she said.

"I think $12 is pretty good for someone with a finance degree. He will not be here long term. I'm praying he'll find a job where he is paid better and can use his degree," said Miller.

Miller also said the county has numerous current and past employees who are related to other county employees and county board members. Miller named county board members Millie Dyer, Frank Halpin, John Galloway and John Almer as some of the board members who currently have or have had in the past, relatives who work in county departments.

She also mentioned Supervisor of Assessment Dave Henderson and Judge Lance Peterson as having relatives who work for the county.

"I didn't have any comment on it because (Miller's son) has worked there before and he is not making a lot of money. It's up to her on who she wants to hire," said Grundy County Board Chairman Ron Severson Wednesday.

Geiger said Miller's action was disappointing, especially following the bonuses issue that has not yet been resolved.

"The bonuses were unethical and unfair to other county employees, and then the next week she hires a family member without posting it. I feel very strongly about equal opportunity for everyone," said Geiger.

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