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George Maragos, Nassau comptroller, moves to protect aide from firing

Maragos wants his longtime personal assistant, a political appointee, to get a union job.

Nassau Comptroller George Maragos is seen on Sept.

Nassau Comptroller George Maragos is seen on Sept. 1, 2017 in Woodbury. Photo Credit: Jeffrey Basinger

Outgoing Nassau Comptroller George Maragos has filed papers to move his longtime personal assistant from a politically-appointed position to a noncompetitive union title — after criticizing County Executive Edward Mangano for a similar practice.

Maragos last month filed with the county Civil Service Commission to convert Cailin Krogman from the title of inspector, with a salary of nearly $137,000, to secretary to the deputy comptroller. She would be a member of the Civil Service Employees Association and be paid the same salary.

“I am obligated to look out for my people,” Maragos, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for county executive this year, said Friday.

Melissa Gallucci, director of the county Office of Human Resources, said Krogman’s job reclassification will be held for approval by County Comptroller-elect Jack Schnirman, a Democrat who takes office Jan 1.

Schnirman said Maragos made the move “behind my back” but declined to say if he would block the change. Schnirman said the comptroller’s office “is in desperate need of auditors who can be at the front line of stopping waste, fraud and abuse. That’s where our attention needs to be.”

In July, Maragos criticized Mangano, a Republican who did not seek re-election as he fights federal corruption charges, for moving 40 politically-appointed employees into protected union positions.

Maragos said the practice, “circumvents the Civil Service system, which ensures that the best candidates are objectively hired with taxpayer money.”

Maragos said his actions now are different because Krogman “would serve at the pleasure of the new comptroller,” and could be terminated at any time.

Krogman’s position would be classified under state Civil Service Law as “Phi” — a designation for employees with “high level administrative, scientific or technical character involving a confidential relationship between the incumbent and appointing authority.”

Unlike other new union hires, the position has no six-month probationary period.

Maragos said Krogman’s new title has no civil service job protection.

CSEA President Jerry Laricchiuta disagreed, noting that he got three fired Traffic and Parking Violations Agency employees with “Phi” titles reinstated, with back pay. Laricchiuta said the county should reject Maragos’ “11th-hour” request. But if Krogman becomes a CSEA member and is later fired, Laricchiuta said he would work for her reinstatement.

Krogman worked with Maragos for two decades at SDS Financial Technologies, a Manhattan data firm he founded. Maragos hired Krogman as his personal secretary when he became comptroller in 2010.

During a countywide wage freeze, Maragos changed Krogman’s title to inspector — a promotion that allowed her to receive a $20,000 pay hike.

Krogman lives in Manhattan but Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker approved Maragos’ request for a residency waiver last month. Walker said he grants all residency waivers sought by elected officials.

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