Glen Cove NY October 22, 1991 Karl Kampe, Republican candidate...

Glen Cove NY October 22, 1991 Karl Kampe, Republican candidate for Glen Cove city council in 1982. Credit: Newsday / Kathy Kmonicek

Karl Kampe Jr., the longtime head of Nassau’s Civil Service Commission, has retired after working from home at full salary for most of the past 18 months because of a serious back injury — an arrangement under review by the county comptroller.

Kampe, 74, of Glen Cove, retired from his $174,541-a-year position as secretary and chief examiner of the commission last Friday, the comptroller’s office said. The commission administers Civil Service exams and ensures county jobs are awarded based on merit.

In an interview, Kampe said Rob Walker, former County Executive Edward Mangano’s chief deputy, gave him permission to work from home after he broke his back. Kampe said he telecommuted every day from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Democratic County Executive Laura Curran, who took office Jan. 1, did not want to continue with Kampe’s work-at-home schedule, a source said.

Kampe disagreed and said the Curran administration was comfortable with the arrangement and offered to let him stay another three to six months. Kampe said he retired at the request of his wife and two children.

“There’s nothing wrong with what I’ve done,” Kampe said. “I’m not a political guy. I’m just a regular guy who did his job the best it could be done.

Curran spokesman Mike Martino said the commission made an Americans with Disability Act accommodation request, which would have allowed Kampe to work from home for medical reasons, on Feb. 20. He retired before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission could act on the request.

Nassau Comptroller Jack Schnirman said the “arrangement was highly unusual and raises a lot of questions.” Schnirman said his office has launched an audit of the arrangement as Kampe seeks to collect his termination pay by collecting unused sick and vacation pay.

Walker did not respond to a request for comment Thursday. Walker pleaded not guilty last week to federal charges of obstructing justice and lying to FBI agents in an unrelated probe of county contracting.

Martino said Kampe did “an outstanding job helping school districts, municipalities and Nassau County meet their Civil Service needs.”

Time records from the comptroller’s office show Kampe was mostly out of the office since Aug. 15, 2016 through last Friday. He was recorded as “working” at his job on nine days in December 2017 and eight days this January. Otherwise, he was recorded as taking vacation days, sick days, personal days and “Approved Work From Home Pay.” The work from home pay began June 23, 2017. From Jan. 19 through last Friday, records list him as having “missed work.”

Kampe, a former Glen Cove City Council member, received his first county appointment in 1972, comptroller records show. He became the commission’s secretary and chief examiner in 1992. He left the position in 2001 after Democrat Thomas Suozzi’s election as county executive but was rehired a year later.

Kampe retired from the commission in 2008, the year he turned 65, only to be reappointed by the commission to the job the same day. State law allows Kampe to collect his full pension and salary if he retires in the year he turns 65.

Gary Ackerman, a Democratic Civil Service commissioner and former congressman, called Kampe the “most knowledgeable person in the state on Civil Service matters.”

Deputy County Attorney Martha Krisel will serve as the commission’s interim executive director. The three-member Civil Service Commission appoints the secretary and chief examiner, according to the Nassau County charter.

With Celeste Hadrick

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