Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs has lodged a complaint with the county Board of Ethics against Democratic County Comptroller George Maragos over Maragos’ employment of his sister-in-law.
In a letter dated Tuesday, Jacobs called on the board to take “swift and immediate action” against Maragos for what Jacobs said was a violation of the county’s anti-nepotism law.
The law states: “No officer or employee of the county shall hire or induce others to hire a relative of such officer or employee, nor shall any officer or employee of the county directly supervise or evaluate the work of any relative employed by the county.”
Maragos in December 2015 hired Anthia Papadopoulos as a $90,000-a-year comptroller’s inspector. He said she was needed to help the office transition to new accounting and human resources systems.
Newsday reported the hiring in April after Maragos, a candidate for county executive, called Hempstead Town’s employment of a councilman’s family member the “height of nepotism.”
Elected officials and political appointees of both parties have relatives on the county payroll. But Jacobs said Maragos’ case is different because he personally hired and supervises his sister-in-law.
Jacobs and Maragos have feuded since Jacobs backed Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) for county executive.
“He is going around the county campaigning to be the county executive by attacking everyone for being engaged in a dirty way of doing business in politics, and in his own office, blatantly, he’s violating the ethics law,” Jacobs said.
Maragos, who left the Republican Party last fall, responded with a letter Wednesday to ethics board members. Maragos wrote that his hiring of Papadopoulos “appears to have been inconsistent with the Nassau County Code of Ethics.”
While he noted that he isn’t Papadopoulos’ direct supervisor, Maragos said he’d seek a waiver allowing her employment. He added, “Her work is integral to the county’s efforts to modernize its financial, payroll and personnel systems.”
County Attorney Carnell Foskey, an ethics board member, said the panel will review Jacobs’ letter. The anti-nepotism law allows for penalties including fines of up to $10,000 and removal from office.