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Is there a prohibition on Township officers being members of the same family?

Generally, no. There is no state law that prohibits family members from being officers of the township. Similarly, there is no state law that prohibits family members from being employees of the township. A township, however, may have adopted an anti-nepotism provision to maintain a certain public perception and maintain a good working environment (and morale) for township officers and employees. These provisions must be carefully drafted and limited in scope to avoid constitutional challenges.

For instance, a City adopted a provision prohibiting family members of a certain degree from being hired within the same department of the City. Winrick v City of Warren, 99 Mich App 770, 774, 299 NW2d 27, 29 (1980). The provision was upheld as constitutional because it was limited to a single department. Since the City had ten departments, a family member could always obtain employment in one of the other nine departments. In contrast, a provision that prevented a city official from hiring any person related by a second degree to any city position was found unconstitutional. There, the court found that the provision went far beyond the legislative purpose of preventing nepotism.

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