There is little disagreement in North Hempstead circles that new leadership is needed at the agency charged with attracting business and tourism to the town. But instead of advertising the position and interviewing qualified and experienced candidates, new town Supervisor Judi Bosworth chose the wife of her predecessor and fellow Democrat, Jon Kaiman. Despite a rather thin resume for the position of deputy commissioner of finance -- some social media experience and a year with Nassau County's Industrial Development Agency in 2004 -- Kim Kaiman might well turn out to be competent and successful. But the process -- or lack thereof -- that led to her appointment stinks.
It also raises the question of Bosworth's independence from Jon Kaiman, whose shadow looms large four months after he departed to coordinate the state's response to superstorm Sandy on Long Island and to head up Nassau County's financial control board. Bosworth says no one "dictated" the choice of Kim Kaiman, and as evidence of her autonomy, she cites several other hires in her first two weeks of people with no connection to Jon Kaiman. But by not conducting a search, Bosworth is hard-pressed to dispel one interpretation of Kim Kaiman's hiring -- that someone in the family must be on the town payroll. She worked for North Hempstead for three years in the early 2000s, left when her husband was elected supervisor, and returns just after his departure.
Nepotism has been around as long as paying jobs have existed, and it's certainly not unique to politics. But it matters more when it's the public's money being spent to hire someone's relative. Kim Kaiman's nomination sailed through the town board, which includes two Republicans, apparently a testament to the new and less combative tone Bosworth has brought to Town Hall. The board should have pushed back a little and demanded a search, or at least a better explanation of Kim Kaiman's qualifications for the $78,000-a-year post. The taxpayers of North Hempstead deserved that much.