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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Richmond’s top election official says the city’s elections office will no longer hire family members and award contracts after an investigation found he and another key official violate nepotism and ethics guidelines.

In a press release on WednesdayRichmond Registrar General Keith Balmer spoke about the results of the city’s personnel investigation into him and his deputy, Jerry Richardson, which found they had violated city laws. Regulations on the employment of relatives And Ethics rules and recommended an “immediate restructuring of the department.”

Balmer said the human resources investigation revealed “several concerns” about nepotism and ethics policies and said he was taking steps to address issues related to a lack of transparent and fair hiring processes.

“We will introduce stricter recruitment procedures in the future to ensure fairness and equal opportunities for all employees,” Balmer wrote“The practice of hiring family members will be discontinued.”

Balmer’s statement, which did not mention Richardson, came as the city’s inspector general is investigating allegations of improper spending and nepotism on the part of Balmer and Richardson.

According to the personnel investigation summary obtained by 8News, both confirmed family ties within the office, including the hiring of Balmer’s brother as a poll specialist and Richardson’s grandson as a poll technician.

Balmer also admitted that he hired his wife to provide disability training for the office and that she was paid $2,300 for the job. When asked about the decision to hire her, Balmer said, “He felt his wife was the best person for the job,” the investigation summary states.

But Balmer said Wednesday that a widely circulated document related to the investigation that included details of family connections within the Richmond electoral office had “led to the false assumption” he began hiring relatives immediately after his appointment.

The practice of hiring family members in the office, Balmer said, “goes back at least 20 years” and has been normal for him since he first worked there over a decade ago.

“I noticed it immediately when I First hired in 2011“For me, working with related employees was normal and I never thought anything of it,” said Balmer.

In his statement Wednesday, Balmer mentioned awarding his wife a contract for a training program to help poll workers assist voters with disabilities.

Balmer claimed that a provision of the city’s ordinance granted him an exemption from the bidding process “for any goods or services related to the conduct of an election,” leading him to award the contract to his wife. Richmond’s city attorney did not immediately respond to a request to confirm Balmer’s claim.

“She did a professional job and the training was well received. However, due to the controversy, I will not be giving any further assignments to my wife or any other family member.”