O'Malley's theory of relativity

For The Record

September 10, 2000

When he sent his plan for streamlining the criminal court system to state judges earlier this year, Mayor Martin O'Malley got down to basics, using simple stick figure illustrations to make his point. Some saw this approach as insulting, but O'Malley insisted he wasn't trying to be "cute."

"I was not looking for humor, I was looking for clarity," O'Malley said. "[W]e are just trying to be as clear as we possibly can be."

A laudable sentiment, and precisely the one at work here. In the wake of news that the younger brothers of both the mayor and his chief deputy have been hired into city jobs, we offer this brief refresher on the dangers of nepotism.

As you said yourself back in February, Mr. Mayor: "The illustrations in this show that it is not nearly as complicated as some may believe it is."

1. Check Credentials

When a position opens up, seek out the best-qualified candidates. If you find that you think your brother or your best man's brother is the best qualified, go to Step 2.

2. Think Again

Reflect on such concepts as "It's the spirit, not the letter, of the law that matters," and "nepotism: favoritism shown to relatives, esp. in appointment to desirable positions" ("Webster's New World Dictionary").

3. Eliminate Relatives/Cronies

You'll meet new people, expand your horizons - and feel better about yourself!

4. Get Back to Murder, Drugs, Trash, etc.

Hey, nobody said being mayor of Baltimore was a family picnic.

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