State workers are supposed to be hired on merit, keeping the public sector free of political patronage jobs, but an investigation by the State Personnel Board found evidence of widespread nepotism at the Board of Equalization.
"It was clear during the investigation that BOE was permeated with a culture that viewed the civil service rules as bureaucratic technicalities that are open to manipulation and circumvention," the report reads.
More than 800 employees, or 17 percent of its staff, were related in some way—according to an incomplete survey. The investigation also cites specific examples of nepotism, such as the board chair intervening to hire the daughter of a state assemblyman as an assistant department chief. Months later, that assistant department chief helped hire the son of another agency employee.
Lawmakers spun-off most of the Board of Equalization’s tax collection responsibilities into another agency earlier this year, after reports of abuses.
After this investigation, the personnel board has blocked the BOE from conducting its own hiring. The new California Department of Tax and Fee Administration also cannot conduct its own hiring for one year.