Civil Service Exams were put in place to deal with such issues, but not all county jobs require applicants to take an exam. Educational requirements are often included in job descriptions, but those making the hires don't always adhere to them.
Jobs at the county don't become available very often, and when they do, high-ranking county officials are often the first to know about it. There's no doubt that the people closest to them will have an advantage in knowing when to put their name in for consideration and when the Civil Service Exam for a specific position will be administered.
This begs the question: "Where is the oversight?" Ultimately, the oversight for nepotism lies in the hands of the voters. For that reason, it would be beneficial for county officials to at least inform the voters of instances where members of the same family work for the government and make a conscious effort to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
Matt Bosley is the editor for the Valley News and Tri-Lakes Today newspapers. He can be reached at 873-6368 x216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.