Ultimate Goal Is To Make What You Know More Important Than Who You Know When Going For Civil Service Job

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A novel way of tracking how tax dollars are spent is coming to Long Island.

On Tuesday, Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman announced he will audit how government jobs are doled out, and to whom.

To get a job in the county, is who you know more important than what you know?

“I don’t want to say nepotism or cronyism, but it’s a little suspicious,” one person told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff on Tuesday.

“Who you know. Political parties play a part in that sometimes,” another person said.

The long-held hunch has Schnirman launching an unusual audit.

“It’s about fixing the bad policies and guidelines that have allowed nepotism and patronage to run wild in Nassau County. We just cant afford it any longer,” Schnirman said.

His nepotism audit will examine the civil service exam process, hiring practices and family relationships.

Schnirman said it strikes at the heart of what’s wrong in Nassau County, where a published report found more than 100 current or former elected, appointed or party officials had at least one family member on the public payroll.

And where the former county executive is on trial for trading contracts for gifts.

A new administration now has a gift ban for appointees, and a new contract system in the works.

“Long Island is one of the highest-taxed suburbs in the nation. The voters here in the last election made the connection between corruption and high taxes,” said Lawrence Levy, dean of suburban studies at Hofstra University.

“It’s based on who you know and how much you contribute and how long you’ve contributed,” good government activist Donna Casazza said.

Casazza said she believes the audit needs to go beyond county jobs.

“You need to get into the town and special district that have civil service jobs handed out with no one looking over their shoulders,” Casazza said.

Schnirman said the audit will lead to money-saving reforms in a county on the brink of a fiscal emergency. Some of the eye-popping waste he found includes workers still toiling with 1990s microfilm.

The public can send in tips of waste and nepotism on a new report it/reform it hotline.

The nepotism audit could take years, but first-phase results will be released in around nine months.