East Hampton Village has appointed a replacement for Larry Cantwell, the village administrator for the past 30 years, Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. announced at a village board meeting on Friday.
Rebecca Molinaro, the clerk-treasurer of the Village of Westhampton Beach, will assume the role on May 1. Mr. Cantwell and Ms. Molinaro will work together until Mr. Cantwell’s retirement in July.
Ms. Molinaro has a master’s degree in public policy and 10 years of government experience as executive assistant to Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. She has served in her present role for the past three years. Ms. Molinaro said Friday that she and her daughter, Emma McGrory, will relocate from Remsenburg to East Hampton. Her starting salary, said the mayor, will be $95,000 per year.
“Becky’s education and work experience is directly within the area of expertise required for the position of village administrator and this makes her an outstanding choice to carry on the tradition of good work by Larry,” the mayor said in a prepared statement.
The incoming village administrator said after the meeting that she is “very excited” about the job. In governing on a local level, she said, “the response is tangible and almost immediate.” Working as a village administrator gives her “an amazing opportunity to become part of it,” she said.
On Friday, Mayor Rickenbach and Ms. Molinaro discussed the considerable similarities between the villages, which include year-round populations that swell in size with an influx of summer residents and visitors, issues of storms and coastal erosion and, especially in recent years, the need to be familiar with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The mayor, who said that he and Mayor Conrad Teller of Westhampton Beach share a similar career track, with each moving from law enforcement into government, described Ms. Molinaro as “a professional lady and a class act,” and predicted “an extremely smooth and transparent transition.”
Ms. Molinaro departs from her present position amid a minor controversy that has been described as an accounting mishap in which village employees were overpaid by a total of $22,000. The error has been corrected, and Ms. Molinaro has recommended that the village move from a biweekly payroll schedule to a 24-week schedule to preclude a repeat of the error. Preparing the village budget is one of the village administrator’s many duties in East Hampton.
Members of the East Hampton Village Board were aware of the situation, Mr. Cantwell said yesterday. “They took a look at it. The state comptroller’s office took a look. It was corrected. I think it’s the kind of mistake that could happen, and we didn’t feel it reflected on Becky’s competence or qualifications in any way,” he said.