Nassau Comptroller Jack Schnirman in his office on April 3...

Nassau Comptroller Jack Schnirman in his office on April 3 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau Comptroller Jack Schnirman on Monday began notifying county agencies that he has launched an audit of nepotism in county hiring.

Schnirman said he would look at the hiring practices for all classes of employees, including Civil Service. Investigators will review county data to determine how positions were advertised and how many applicants responded to job postings.

The audit will look specifically for instances of employees supervising family members and “determine how such a situation was allowed to happen in the first place,” an official said.

“We will be examining hiring practices to ensure there is a fair and level playing field for all who seek to join the county workforce,” Schnirman said Monday.

A Newsday story in October revealed that more than 100 current or former Nassau elected officials, high-level appointees and political club leaders — Republican and Democrat — had at least one family member working in local government at some point since 2015.

A review of public employee payrolls from 2015 and 2016 showed nearly 30 of these officials had at least two relatives on a county or town payroll, and several had three or four. Their collective salaries were about $8 million, Newsday found.

Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello said he wanted to know more about Schnirman’s plans.

“If he’s doing it from a good government standpoint then it could be beneficial, but if he’s going about it with partisan ends in mind then it won’t and will benefit no one,” said Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park).

Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said “it will be vital that we evaluate and implement the recommendations of the audit as quickly as possible to ensure the county has a transparent and level playing field when hiring occurs.”

“We look forward to seeing the results of the Comptroller’s audit. Since day one County Executive [Laura] Curran has been focused on restoring ethics and trust in Nassau government,” said Curran spokesman Michael Martino. The administration “will work with the comptroller throughout the process,” Martino said.

The audit is expected to take six to nine months, officials said.

At the conclusion, Schnirman’s office will release specific recommendations to the public.

“This audit is an unprecedented undertaking for Nassau County that has required months of planning,” Schnirman said.

Schnirman’s office sent the first of its official letters Monday to the county Office of Human Resources and to the Civil Service Commission.

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