St. Louis County Board Approves Anti-Nepotism Policy

Board votes unanimously.

DULUTH, Minn.- An Anti-Nepotism Policy has been unanimously approved by the St. Louis County Board.

This comes after the board received backlash when longtime County Attorney Mark Rubin hired his son Tony as a prosecutor back in January.

The board met about the introduction of a Nepotism Policy last month, after constituents complained the hiring was unfair or a conflict of interest.

On Tuesday the board approved the policy, effective immediately.

But not without some final opinions.

The policy states that no employees or officials should be directly involved in any decision regarding hiring, promotion, supervision, salary adjustments or grievances made regarding an immediate family member or significant other.

While all commissioners voted in favor of the new policy, some still had their differing thoughts.

“I see a public servant that has been with us for 40 years, 40 years, one of the finest prosecutors in the state of Minnesota, go and ask,” said Commissioner Keith Nelson, referring to Rubin.

“We as elected officials should not have targets placed on our backs.”

Allen Richardson, representing his group the St. Louis County Anti-Nepotism Taskforce, was outspoken about his support for the policy.

He echoed what commissioners say were the concerns of many county residents who contacted them.

“There is no need to respect politicians who blatantly do things that are unethical and immoral,” Richardson said.

“Glad that the commissioners are using their power to try and rectify that situation.”

His group made a t-shirt which he wore, proudly declaring their thoughts.

“I didn’t ask for the Rubin Sandwich,” it reads. “We’re encouraging people to use the sentence in their speech, especially, hopefully, within earshot of Mark and Tony Rubin.”

County Attorney Rubin was present, and silent, throughout the meeting.

He did not make himself available for comment to the media.

Richardson hopes some good comes out of this discussion.

“The silver lining is, maybe stimulate a conversation about how politics really work in St. Louis County.”

It’s important to note that this Nepotism Policy applies to all employees hired through the county’s Human Resources Department.

Minnesota state statute gives all county attorneys in the state, including Mark Rubin, the authority to hire whoever they want.

So this Nepotism Policy does nothing to reverse the hiring of Rubin’s son, or affect any hiring by Rubin in the future.

But it does set an official tone for county business outside that office.

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