CMS to ban ‘intimate relationships’ between supervisors and staff

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools plans to expand and clarify its nepotism policy to ban supervisors from dating or rooming with staff they supervise.

Under the proposed policy, scheduled to go to the full board later this month, supervisors and employees who fail to disclose “a romantic, dating or sexual relationship” within five days could be fired. When such a relationship is disclosed, one or both will be reassigned to avoid the conflict.

CMS staff told the board’s Policy Committee on Monday the revision is designed to avoid confusion and bring the district in line with policies at other school districts and corporations. CMS is one of the Charlotte region’s largest employers, with about 18,650 employees.

“We get calls every day” from supervisors seeking clarity on what’s acceptable if a relative gets a job, said Chief Human Resources Officer Avery Mitchell. The new policy bans direct supervision of family members including not just spouses, children and siblings but stepchildren, stepsiblings, in-laws, first cousins and “those living in the same household, such as roommates or domestic partners.” It also extends that policy to those in “intimate relationships.”

Indirect supervision may be allowed, but must be disclosed and approved by the superintendent. For instance, Board Chair Mary McCray has a daughter who works for CMS, but McCray said she avoids any decisions that are specific to employees at her daughter’s school.

Board member Ericka Ellis-Stewart asked if any particular situation had precipitated the change.

“We’re trying to get ahead of a situation,” said Superintendent Ann Clark.

Ann Doss Helms: 704-358-5033, @anndosshelms