Family of top Bronx pols scored gigs from Elections Board, records show

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The father of the Bronx Democratic Party chairman, state Sen. Jamaal Bailey, is on the payroll of the patronage-laden Board of Elections, in another high-profile example of ties between the embattled agency and lawmakers with the power to reform it, The Post has learned.

Bailey’s father, Stanley, was first hired by the BOE in 2012 and made nearly $88,000 last year as an associate staff analyst in the agency’s Manhattan offices, payroll records show.

Bailey was elected to the state Senate in 2016, but spent several years before that working as an intern and then as a staffer for one of the most powerful men in New York, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

The BOE hired Bailey’s father when Heastie himself was the chairman of the Bronx Democratic Party, a position that allowed him to nominate one of the body’s commissioners and gave him significant sway in its hiring.

Heastie is now widely viewed as a major stumbling block in the push to overhaul the BOE following the agency’s latest high-profile election fiasco.

“The city Board of Elections seems immune to reform because many politicians secretly love having a reservoir of jobs they can give to supporters, friends and relatives. It’s old school cronyism,” said John Kaehny, the executive director of Reinvent Albany, which has campaigned for Board of Elections reforms for years.

Payroll records also show that Heastie’s sister, Linda, was hired as a poll worker for elections from 2014 through 2018. The job is not full time and pays less than $1,000 annually.

The BOE’s operations have come under intense scrutiny since it bungled its first public tally of the ranked-choice voting outcomes in the recent Big Apple Democratic mayoral primary, turning the agency into the butt of jokes across the country.

Under the state constitution, the county Democratic and Republican parties control the BOE — a setup that has shielded the agency from reforms and allowed its payroll to become a frequent landing spot for the allies, relatives and staffers of politicians.

State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester) called for hearings and promised to pass reform legislation in the aftermath of the blunder.

Heastie’s own response was far more circumspect — offering no promises of hearings or action to fix the agency.

His BOE watchdog, Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, eventually scheduled a hearing that was held Monday, which focused on the Big Apple’s new ranked-choice voting system for city primaries and not the Board of Elections’ bungling of recent elections.

The Post revealed this week that four close associates of Walker have been or are currently on the agency’s payroll.

The agency’s current acting executive director, Dawn Sandow, was a former top aide to a convicted Bronx GOP lawmaker before scoring her gig at the agency. Sources told the Post she is not qualified for the position.

“I don’t know how many final straws we need around here. It doesn’t work,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday about the agency. “It’s a relic of Tammany Hall. It’s broken. It will always be broken. It should be replaced with a modern, efficient agency.”

The ballot counting botch represented the latest — and maybe highest profile — misstep by the BOE in recent years.

  • The board admitted to violating election laws by purging 200,000 voters from its rolls ahead of the 2016 presidential primary. That year, 20 percent of trained poll workers didn’t show up to work on Election Day.
  • In November 2018, high election day humidity rendered its new, $56 million scanners inoperable and reporters uncovered the a top BOE official took junkets from the machine’s manufacturer.
  • And during the 2020 presidential primaries, the board disqualified 80,000 ballots, because officials weren’t ready to handle the increase in mailed votes cast due to in-person voting concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bailey replaced another top Heastie ally Assemblyman Marcos Crespo as the head of the Bronx machine, which beat back primary challengers to claim all 11 of the borough’s Council districts in the most recent Democratic primary.

Crespo stepped down from the Assembly to take a high profile gig at Montefiore Hospital — a major employer in The Bronx — as its head of ‘Community Affairs’.

A spokesman for Heastie did not return requests for comment.

Bailey’s father “has been an employee of the Board of Elections since 2012, long before the senator ran for office,” said a spokesman for the senator, who otherwise declined to comment.

Additional reporting by Georgett Roberts

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