Filler: Favoritism reigns still in North Hempstead

Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman and

Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman and his wife. (Credit: News 12)

Lane Filler

Portrait of Newsday editorial board member Lane Filler Lane Filler

Lane Filler is a member of the Newsday editorial board.

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Apparently $78,000 per year is the going rate when the Town of North Hempstead puts the spouses of the town's powerful Democratic politicians on the payroll.

That's the same salary announced when much Kim Kaiman was hired in January to be the town's deputy commissioner of finance and executive director of the North Hempstead Business and Tourism Development Corp. Kaiman is the wife of Jon Kaiman, the longtime town supervisor who is now the chairman of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority and is overseeing Sandy relief efforts and funding on Long Island for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

And $78,000 is how much Concetta Terry, wife of town Democratic Party leader Gerard Terry, will receive as deputy town clerk after being hired this week.

There was no public posting for Concetta Terry's new job, according to town officials, because it is a "confidential" job.

Democratic Town Clerk Wayne Wink said, "If someone is privy to personnel and town board matters . . . it's got to be someone I can trust in, and who can be discreet about the goings-on in the office." He added that "she stood out as the most qualified person," which is likely, in some sense, true.

If you don't advertise a position or let the public know it's available, then the person you have in mind for the job will be, by definition, the most qualified worker under consideration. It's only by seeking other candidates that you create a competition for that designation.

This happens in every town on Long Island, and in every political party. Well-connected friends and relatives of powerful Conservative, Independence and Republican party leaders often get the same treatment.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Elsewhere in this nation, government jobs can't be granted without the opening being posted. In some places, no significant position can be filled without releasing the names and resumes of three finalists.

That doesn't prevent all favoritism in government hiring, but it helps.

Lane Filler is a member of the Newsday editorial board.