Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

While Rob Astorino alleges that he rejected Westchester Independence Party chief Giulio "Doc" Cavallo's demand for a patronage job after the 2009 elections in return for party endorsement, Cavallo was hired by GOP-controlled Nassau County in July 2010 to work as a "research scientist II" with full civil service benefits.

Records show Cavallo, who has a medical degree, initially was to work nine of every 10 work days, which dropped to four days a week this April. He earned $73,684 last year from Nassau while collecting about $57,000 as a special health advisor to the Republican-controlled State Senate. Reached at his county phone number at 3 p.m. on a Friday, Cavallo said he was reviewing medical claims in his third floor county office at One West Street in Mineola.

Cavallo said he drives in from his Yonkers home every workday and was hired at the same time longtime friend John Ciampoli became county attorney in 2010. Cavallo denied demanding a job from Astorino, the Republican candidate against Democrat Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo this November.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Ciampoli said Cavallo’s resume had been received by the transition team for County Executive Edward Mangano, a Republican who took office in Jan. 2010. “I don’t know who sent it or recommended him,” Ciampoli said. “When somebody puts in the name of a qualified candidate for a job, when you find out about it, you grab it.”

He said Cavallo reviewed medical claims and also helped educate employees about prevention after the county attorney’s office became infested with bedbugs.
Cavallo “was always a huge asset to the office,” Ciampoli said.

State Comptroller records show that Cavallo served as a project coordinator for the state health department from June 1999 though 2005. In December 2005, he was hired by the State Senate and has served in various positions on and off ever since. As a special health adviser, he is paid $2,211.83 biweekly.

The New York Post last month quoted Astorino as saying “Chairman Cavallo demanded that I give him a job with benefits after the 2009 election. I had been told by multiple sources that Mr. Cavallo has a history of shaking down public officials for no-show jobs. I refused to hire him and the Independence Party dropped its support of me right there and then.”

Cavallo told Newsday, “I never did that. Nobody ever got any jobs.”

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Deputy County Executive Ed Ward would only say regarding Cavallo: “He has a civil service position for the last four years in the county attorney’s office.”