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Nepotism policy could affect trustee

Posted: Sunday, July 03, 2011

A new nepotism policy approved Tuesday by the school board might prevent school trustee Wayne Bridge from seeking re-election next year.


The policy mirrors a controversial state law banning the immediate family of board of education members from serving as school administrators or on the staff of the system's central office. Bridges' wife, Mary, is the assistant principal at Martinez Elementary School.

However, school officials believe Bridges might be an exception.

The state Legislature passed the law in 2009 as an attempt to halt nepotism in Georgia school systems. Wayne Bridges won a re-election bid in 2008 to serve a third four-year term starting January 2009, prior to the law's approval. The board voted to promote Mary Bridges last year.

Wayne Bridges said he has sought the advice of an attorney, who told him he could continue to seek re-election if he wishes. The lawyer told him the issue of his re-election is a "gray area" in the law, but stressed that was just his interpretation.

Prior to the meeting, Superintendent Charles Nagle said school system lawyers also are looking into the matter.

Even though Bridges has said he might not run again, he still hopes someone will challenge the constitutionality of the law prior to the election season.

The law, he said, frustrates him since it singles out members of school boards.

"Why is it just us?" he asked. "There is nepotism going on at all levels of government. If you have a problem with it, then you should have a problem with all of it.

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