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Long IslandColumnistsJoye Brown

Keeping pension credits flowing in North Hempstead

Kim Kaiman had been executive director of the

Kim Kaiman had been executive director of the North Hempstead Business and Development Corporation before she resigned June 21. Photo Credit: Michael E. Ach

The Town of North Hempstead recently got slapped around by Nassau’s Civil Service Commission for wrongfully allowing a former official to hold one job title while performing the duties of another.

That former official is Kim Kaiman, spouse of former town Supervisor Jon Kaiman, who was hired by her husband’s successor and fellow Democrat Judi Bosworth in 2014 to handle two jobs.

The duties, for our purposes, are unimportant at this point. More relevant to the discussion is this:

Job One did not allow Kim Kaiman to accumulate credits toward a public employee pension.

Job Two did — which was no small thing since Kaiman already had time in the system from pension-eligible jobs she had held in the past.

North Hempstead essentially looked the other way as Kaiman performed duties for Job One, while also collecting pension credits for Job Two.

“This is probably the most extreme — when somebody fills a position and basically is doing work totally different from what the position calls for,” Karl Kampe, the commission’s director, told Newsday.

In short, Kaiman worked as executive director of North Hempstead’s tourism agency while she was classified as a deputy finance director, a Civil Service position.

Kaiman began both jobs in 2014. The commission launched an investigation into the matter in May 2016 and this January told the town to resolve the conflict in Kaiman’s job titles — which the town did by rescinding Kaiman’s finance title.

That left her with the tourism post, which accrues no pension credits. She resigned that job in June.

The commission began its investigation after receiving an anonymous letter asking whether Kaiman was being “shown favoritism because she is Jon Kaiman’s wife.”

The commission determination didn’t specifically address the question — so, let’s see where the breadcrumbs lead:

Jon Kaiman stepped down and was replaced, after an election, by Bosworth.

Bosworth, pretty quickly, put Kaiman’s spouse on the town payroll — in a dual role built, initially at least, to keep pension credit accruals flowing through the Civil Service portion of her duties as a town deputy finance commissioner. Kaiman also received health care benefits, which former tourism agency directors never had.

Was it favoritism? Nepotism, after the fact? Or just one more example of job security for the party faithful?

North Hempstead officials — who on Friday said they would have no further comment on the issue — very likely would say no.

They would say Kim Kaiman was “uniquely qualified” for the posts; that the differing treatment was due to her “taking on additional duties” — justifications that, for decades, have been used in attempts to obfuscate how things work in too many municipalities on Long Island.

CORRECTION: The Nassau County Civil Service Commission determined that Kim Kaiman’s job duties for the Town of North Hempstead did not correspond to the duties of the Civil Service title she held, deputy finance commissioner. A previous version of this column, using information from another Newsday story, incorrectly described the scope of the commission’s determination to include entitlement to New York State pension credits.

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