Westhampton Beach's Village Clerk Rebecca Molinaro has taken a position with the Village of East Hampton, replacing Larry Cantwell as East Hampton Village Administrator, effective May 1.
"I have enjoyed my time with the Village of Westhampton Beach and I look forward to a new chapter with East Hampton," said Molinaro.
Molinaro, who acts as chief financial officer within her position of village clerk, leaves the Village of Westhampton Beach under a cloud of controversy as village finances are being questioned by three village trustees.
The trio have voted to hire an outside attorney and extend the services of the village's auditing firm to investigate questions they have about finances, including an $22,000 overpayment of 40 village employees, including the mayor.
Molinaro has stated that the error, which she said has been fixed, was due to a payroll schedule and has suggested that the village move to a 24-week payroll schedule to prevent further mistakes. Mayor Conrad Teller, as well as Trustee Ralph Urban, have stood behind her, both praising her at a meeting as recently as last Thursday.
Molinaro, who has a master's degree from SUNY Stony Brook, has served as village clerk in Westhampton Beach for for three years, taking the position after serving as executive assistant to New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., I-Sag Harbor, for 10 years.
Mayor Teller was not immediately available for comment.
East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach said on Friday that he and the rest of the board were not put off by the situation in Westhampton. "We were aware of some circumstances in Westhampton Beach, but at the end of the day, it had no bearing on our decision, and we made the right decision," he said.
"We're very excited and I think all things considered, it's going to be a wonderful new addition to the village," Rickenbach said of Molinaro.
Molinaro will receive a salary of $95,000 per year — half of Cantwell's current salary. She will start in East Hampton on May 1, so that she can finish finish Westhampton's 2013-14 budget.
Cantwell will remain with East Hampton Village through the end of the village's fiscal year, retiring in late July, to help ensure the transition is a smooth one.
"I've worked with Becky for 13 years, starting when she first worked for Fred Thiele," he said. "The administrators and clerks on the East End meet once a month, we talk regularly. We exchange information and help each other," he said. "I've always found her to be professional, courteous and helpful."