The danger of having elected officials in local governments where family members are employed became apparent last week in Austintown.
The Austintown Board of Education approved a three-year contract with the Austintown Education Association giving 2 percent raises to about 300 teachers. Since salaries and benefits represent about 75 percent of the district's budget, this will cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
School board members David Schnurrenberger and Harold Porter have family members who are teachers. Schnurrenberger and Porter, therefore, abstained from voting on the contract since doing so would be a conflict of interest.
That left school board members Kathy Mock, David Ritchie and Tom Stellers to decide on what really is a monumental decision. The vote was unanimous, but the contract would have passed even if just two of the board members without conflicts approved.
Not that there is anything wrong with this particular contract, but voters should think long and hard before electing representatives to positions that oversee relatives, and governmental bodies should refrain from hiring relatives of their elected peers.