Spin Cycle

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Suffolk Legis. Thomas Barraga could not get his daughter the nod to replace him in state Assembly in 2006, but had the juice last week for an emergency resolution from soon-to-be GOP County Executive Steve Levy to permit her hiring as an $89,900 a year senior assistant county attorney.

Elaine Barraga starts today, filling a vacancy in the general litigation bureau, said Mark Smith, Levy spokesman. Despite the budget crunch, Smith said attorney jobs hare routinely filled because of the department’s “volume of work.” He also noted Barraga is a bargain because she had made $110,000 a year in her old job.

Barraga said he recommended his daughter, but emphasized she is “knowledgeable and highly qualified,” with 17 years' litigation experience, including stints as MTA associate counsel and four years and an assistant state attorney general. But the lawmaker conceded his backing of the county executive may have helped.

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“I’ve supported his agenda,” said Barraga, “So I hope it would play a role whether I was a a Republican or a Democrat.” But he added, “But the fact that he’s now a Republican didn’t hurt.”

Under the county nepotism law, the legislature must approve any non-civil service hiring of relatives of top elected and appointed officials. Elaine Barraga passed unanimously.