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Town Hires Former Southampton Building, Planning Administrator

Jefferson Murphree resigned after years in Southampton Town in December.

The Riverhead Town Board voted unanimously on Tuesday to appoint Jefferson Murphree as the new town building and planning administrator.

In his new position, Murphree will earn a salary of $110,000.

In a surprise move, Murphree in December from his position as head of Southampton Town’s land management department, where he had served as chief planning and development administrator for over 13 years.

When he resigned from Southampton, Muphree said he planned to work in the private sector, and was employed with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. (VHB), a Hauppauge-based consulting firm that Riverhead Town has contracted to conduct a study of Enterprise Park at Calverton.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said he's aiming to combine the town's planning and building departments under one administrator -- something Murphree had experience with, during the early stages when the Town of Southampton made the same decision years ago.

"It's a perfect fit," Walter said. "I"m excited -- this solves a lot of our problems."

The resolution appointing Murphree states that the Suffolk County Department of Civil Service has issued approval to fill the position of town building and planning administrator on a provisional basis until the certified list of eligibles for the title is released.

The position was advertised for, interviews were conducted, and the town board and personnel committee recommended Murphree for the post.

Murphree's first day will be Monday.

Mary Beth July 03, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Revolving door? Be careful, riverhead, this man is a developer advocate
Faustina July 04, 2012 at 09:47 AM
Southampton breathed a sigh of relief when this nasty little piece of work finally left. $110,000 of taxpayer dollars to support this lazy, skewed builder's pet. Riverhead is welcome to him.
Meadow Lane July 04, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Resigned suddenly from Southampton? Yes. When the company you own puts out studies paid for by your employer with taxpayer money shaded very favorably toward a "generous" developer, you bet...don't let the door hit you in the butt. One less conflict of interest in Southampton. Thanks for leaving.
Vince Taldone July 04, 2012 at 03:44 PM
As a Riverhead resident working primarily on real estate projects in Southampton, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Mr. Murphree and am familiar with the operation of Southampton’s Land Management Department which long ago incorporated building , zoning and environmental divisions under one roof. The result has been a well run, efficient way to provide services to the public which includes individual landowners and yes, developers too. In Southampton, all information and required applications are obtained in a one-stop shopping experience. All division directors report to one person – so there is no saying to the public “not my job”. I look forward to seeing this modern operational plan implemented in Riverhead. As everyone in my town who has tried to get something built knows, pack a lunch as you shuttle from office to office for the bits and pieces of process needed to complete your plans. No one in Riverhead was responsible for coordinating all these related activities leading frustrated people to seek help from elected officials in order to dig through the bureaucratic chaos. Congratulations to the Riverhead Town Board! Hiring Mr. Murphree to head the consolidation and reorganization is a real coup for the town’s economic development and a great step forward in service to tax payers. P.S. I have no real estate development projects in the Town of Riverhead and speak entirely as a resident and taxpayer of my town.

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