Saturday, January 18, 2014
Shocking news: BOE full of political cronies
From the Times Ledger:
Good government groups are not the only organizations calling for city Board of Election reform these days.
Just before Mayor Bill de Blasio and 21 new City Council members took oaths of office, the city Department of Investigation published a report contending that nepotism, wastefulness and incompetency at the BOE illustrate the need to transition the agency into a non-partisan entity.
The BOE did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Under state law, the two major political parties share control of the Board of Elections, which is required to hire equal numbers of personnel registered with the Democratic and Republican parties. Ten commissioners comprising one Republican and one Democrat from each borough oversee the BOE.
The DOI report concluded that county political committees maintain an outsize role in personnel decisions. BOE employees told investigators they work with the county parties to recruit and hire, with one commissioner saying he had “to have a talk with my Garcias,” referring to the committee, before making a hire.
Investigators discovered the board does not generally post openings publicly or solicit applications, nor does it follow a standard procedure for screening prospective employees. Although election law gives county committees the opportunity to recommend commissioners to the Council, it does not establish roles for the parties in hiring other BOE staff, the DOI said.
These hiring procedures have led to at least 69 BOE employees working with relatives, including two commissioners, the report said.
Investigators referred two substantiated cases of commissioners engaging in nepotism to the city Conflicts of Interests Board. It did not name the commissioners.