Long Island’s family-and-friends jobs system


The Huntington Town board performed a little three-card monte with jobs this week. And when the sleight-of-hand was done, one new position went to the son of the law partner of town board member Ed Smyth. Smyth told Newsday that the son is qualified. Of course, he is. They always are.

Before you say, well, it’s just one job — it’s not. And before you say we’re picking on Huntington — we’re not. This is what’s done all over Long Island, where every local government always has a friends-and-family policy, regardless of party, and the most important parts of your resume are the unwritten lines about the people you know, not the skills you possess.

So when former Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino loses his re-election bid, he moves to Nassau County’s Board of Elections. Michael Torres, a Suffolk Conservative Party leader who once worked at that county’s Board of Elections, got hired by Suffolk Off-Track Betting, whose president, Phil Nolan, got his job after losing a re-election bid for Islip Town supervisor. At one point, the son, brother, sister and wife of former North Hempstead Highway Superintendent Thomas Tiernan all had jobs with the town.

We don’t have anything against anyone’s brother, sister-in-law, godchild, uncle or cousin. But how often is he or she really the most qualified person? How extensive really was the job search?

As a member of the public, you pay these salaries. So the next time a decision-maker runs for office, ask him or her to take a position on a no-patronage pledge. And let that be your guide before you vote to give that candidate a job. — The editorial board

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