Q Can the mother of an alderman serve on the planning and zoning committee for the city? This person would report to the aldermen and mayor. If so, must the alderman recuse himself from all recommendations made from the committee?

A An analysis of whether a relationship is in violation of the nepotism statute, Section 25-1-53, requires a three-step assessment. First, the municipality must determine if the relative, who is a public official, is the “appointing authority.” Second, the municipality must ascertain whether the parties are related within the third degree. Lastly, it must determine is the subject job is included in the list of the prohibited positions enumerated in 25-1-53 (officer, clerk, stenographer, deputy or assistant). If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then there is no violation of the nepotism statute. Note that restrictions imposed by the nepotism statute do not apply to non-paid positions nor to individuals already in prohibited positions at the time their prohibited relative is appointed or elected. As to recusals, please direct your inquiry to the Mississippi Ethics Commission. (Attorney General’s Opinion to Wall, September 1, 2017)