City Councilman and retired East Liverpool city firefighter Ray Perorazio is right to shine the light on the recent hirings by the fire chief and question whether they're proper.
East Liverpool Fire Chief Bill Jones recently hired his son, Aaron Jones, and Jason Glista, a young man who had dated Jones' daughter, to fill openings on his department.
Both men passed the civil service test as required, but were hired over others who took the test because of their prior training, the chief said. Perorazio argued before the civil service commission that if prior training is given preference, it should be included in the advertisement posted for the openings.
Perorazio plans to obtain a legal opinion on the issue, but the hiring appears to have been done legally.
However, even if it is legal, we have to ask "does it pass the smell test?" Was it morally right? Since both men had access to the chief prior to their hiring, could they have possibly known that fire department openings were imminent and were they told that obtaining training prior to their application may help their chances of employment? Having inside information hardly makes the playing field level.
Many times firefighting is a family tradition. Just look at the volunteer departments around Columbiana County and you'll find many father and son teams serving as well as many third- and fourth-generation firefighters.
But when we're talking about paid civil-service positions, departments need to be especially vigilant that nepotism isn't coming into play.
It may not change anything, but it's good that people like Ray Perorazio call attention to hirings that many may perceive as unfair. Perhaps this may cause others to think the next time vacant positions are being filled.