Children and Municipal Jobs

This one is going to make me real popular too.

Newburyport City Councilors Tom O’Brien and Erford Fowler have been criticized over the years for having their children work for the city of Newburyport, MA. Nepotism and a conflict of interest has been sighted on various occasions.

When Councilor O’Brien came “under fire” for salary increases for city employees that would have affected his daughter, believe it or not, although, yes, I thought it could be a conflict of interest, no doubt about that one, I was real sympathetic to Councilor O’Brien.

Having a 20 something offspring, if there was a job available that paid halfway decently, with benefits, and I could be instrumental in helping securing that employment, as a parent, as a mom, I’d be tempted to do it in a New York minute.

I thought that parenthood would get easier as my child got older.

Nope. Not easier, just different.

And as a parent, the same ferocious protectiveness that was there when my child was a newborn, is still there, at the same magnitude, in his 20′s.

So when folks were dumping on Councilor O’Brien when he was hoping for the best for his daughter, I got it.

If I had been in the same position, it would have taken people literally holding me back, and having them cover my mouth, to stop me beseeching them to “do right” by my kid.

Mamas and Papas have always wanted to help their children. At a younger age, “nepotism” used to be a “dirty word.” At a more “mature” age, I now definitely “get it” on a whole different, ferociously protective, parental level.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport