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Feb 15, 2013 12:22 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Village To Appoint Rebecca Molinaro New Administrator

Feb 19, 2013 2:07 PM

Rebecca Molinaro will replace Larry Cantwell as East Hampton Village administrator, Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. announced at a Village Board meeting on Friday. Ms. Molinaro, who is the village clerk-treasurer in Westhampton Beach, will start her new job on May 1.

Ms. Molinaro worked as an executive assistant to New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. for 10 years before joining Westhampton Beach three years ago. She has a master’s degree in public policy from Stony Brook University.

“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,” a statement from Mayor Rickenbach said. “They will work together beginning in May until Larry’s expected retirement in July.”

“I’m just very excited,” Ms. Molinaro said after the meeting. “It’s an amazing opportunity for anyone who’s worked with the mayor and his board,” she said. “We bounce a lot of ideas off each other” already, she said, naming new local laws, local efficiency grants from the state and beach erosion as the types of issues common to the villages of both East Hampton and Westhampton Beach.

“Both villages are intimately involved with the same government agencies,” she said, mentioning the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for example. “I’m waiting for my check,” she said of storm-related reimbursement that is due to Westhampton Beach from the agency.

In Westhampton Beach, Ms. Molinaro has been at the center of a recent controversy over an error that resulted in the overpayment of a total of approximately $22,000 to the village’s 34 full-time employees last year. She has had the support of Westhampton Beach Village Mayor Conrad Teller, but village trustees have authorized an audit of village finances that has not yet been completed and the error has led to discord among them.

Ms. Molinaro said on Friday that Westhampton Beach Village is in the process of making payroll adjustments and that the state comptroller has done a risk assessment and decided it would not be doing an audit. While not a common error, she said, it was not an unusual one either for public or private payrolls on the same payment cycle.

“The mayor’s aware of the issues that took place there regarding some payroll error,” Mr. Cantwell said on Friday. “My guess is that it would have been handled professionally and as a matter of business in the Village of East Hampton, as opposed to individual board members trying to make political points.”

“I don’t think it’s a reflection on Becky’s professionalism or competence in any way,” Mr. Cantwell said.

Ms. Molinaro said she will stay on in Westhampton Beach until April 30 to see the budget process through, as it will have to be prepared for adoption in May. Mr. Cantwell said he will stay on in East Hampton until July to help see its budget, which is on a later time line, to completion.

Asked if the controversy in Westhampton Beach had led her to apply for the position in East Hampton, Ms. Molinaro said she did not have a “personal comment.”

“I will continue to do my job for the mayor and the village, but when the opportunity arose in East Hampton Village, I would be personally remiss if I did not take the opportunity to apply for the job,” she said. “Just from a government point of view, East Hampton Village is an epitome of professionalism and efficiency. Anyone who would not try to be part of that system, you certainly would be missing out on an opportunity to be part of that government.”

Ms. Molinaro’s starting salary will be $95,000, which the mayor said is a slight increase over her present rate of pay. It is about half of what Mr. Cantwell is paid as village administrator, a position he has held for 30 years. In East Hampton Village, Ms. Molinaro will be “the point person” for the Village Board, the mayor said, and for the village’s various departments and the population, which surges in summer in Westhampton Beach as it does in East Hampton. Working in village government, Ms. Molinaro said, “has an impact on people’s daily lives almost immediately,” whether that means police protection, potholes or leaf pickup. She called it “very tangible.”

Mayor Rickenbach said Mayor Teller, “a professional and personal friend” who shares a background in law enforcement, was “extremely effusive” in his recommendation of Ms. Molinaro, describing her as “a class act.” Nine candidates interviewed with the Village Board for the replacement position earlier in February, which the mayor called “an interesting process” that board members found instructive.

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Good for you, get away from those lunatics in WHB
By westendoftown (18), whb on Feb 15, 13 12:39 PM
2 members liked this comment
Just curious but has anyone heard the rumor she was involved in mismanaging WHB payroll? If so was she properly vetted?
By razza5350 (1895), East Hampton on Feb 15, 13 3:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
Congratulations to Becky, East Hampton is lucky to have her. It was wonderful to have such a professional in the Village Clerk position in WHB over the last three years.
By Sug Tonmi (25), southampton on Feb 16, 13 8:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
Mayor Teller should resign and leave next. His sweetheart deals to the Police Chief awarded him a windfall pay package, job to a family member, and now over $6,600 in over pay. I cant believe each will not step down. Isnt there something illegal about a law enforcement officer accepting monies he knows is not due him?? And the Mayor is upset some Village taxpayers are questioning his judgement- Time to resign Mayor!
By realistic (414), westhampton on Feb 16, 13 10:26 AM
1 member liked this comment
Good thing the Village of East Hampton has such deep pockets. Hiring a Chief Fiscal Officer who has overpaid 40 public employees a total of $22,000, gave a $10,000 paid medical leave to an employee without Board approval, and paying the Police Chief $6,600 for 10 vacation days he was not entitled to does not bode well. Caveat emptor. On the other hand, such overspending practices will have very little effect on East Hampton's fiscal condition! It seems like a win win for both Villages.
By beachgirl11978 (18), Westhampton Beach on Feb 16, 13 12:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
Having been on the public payroll for 13 years, Ms. Molinaro is no doubt knowledgeable and sophisticated in these matters. That being so, it's surprising that she would make this job change so soon after the embarrassing difficulties with Westhampton Beach's financial accounts. She has to know that it gives the appearance of a hasty departure under fire. If that is not truly the case, then it's hard to understand why she'd do something that makes it look like the case.
By Turkey Bridge (1806), Quiogue on Feb 16, 13 4:21 PM
More than likely, Easthampton ascertained that Ms. Molinaro is a gem that any municipality would be happy to have in their employ. You're a reasonably smart guy TB, and you know exactly what kind of political shenanigans she had to ( with much class, I might add) tolerate. So unlike you to throw mud at someone just because of their political leanings.
By But I'm a blank! (1277), Hampton Bays on Feb 16, 13 6:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
Say, But, if anyone in this conversation is demonstrating "leanings," it's you with an obvious bias in Ms. Molinaro's favor, calling her "a gem that any municipality would be happy to have," and attributing "much class" to her. Those are statements of opinion -- your opinion.

By contrast, all I did was state facts and draw reasonable inferences from those facts. Contrary to what you say, that's not throwing mud. If I had wanted to get in the mud business, I'd have taken it another step, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1806), Quiogue on Feb 17, 13 10:00 AM
On the other hand, in the interests of fairness, TB's "obvious bias" against Ms. Molinaro must be that she once interviewed with the Republicans for a run for the Town Board.
By Frank Wheeler (1775), Northampton on Feb 17, 13 11:32 AM
Fairness? Really? Bias? Really? Paradoxically, Mr. Wheeler, it's that partisanship of which you accuse me that colors much (not all) of what you post here. In this instance, you're so focused on what you perceive to be my partisanship that you're blinded to the facts, as follows: Rebecca Molinaro, a politically astute person, does something that's not at all politically astute. That's puzzling behavior, to put it nicely. When any public official, Democrat, Republican or whatever, engages ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1806), Quiogue on Feb 17, 13 11:52 AM
"Having been on the public payroll for 13 years, Ms. Molinaro is no doubt knowledgeable and sophisticated in these matters"
Being a public employee is the qualifier here?
"Embarrassing difficulties"
You mean the ones where the State of New York looked, saw no irregularities of note and decided NOT to do an audit?
"She has to know that it gives the appearance of a hasty departure under fire"
Of, most likely, she had tired of Mr. Tucker and crew looking for publicity at her expense.
And ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1277), Hampton Bays on Feb 17, 13 12:28 PM
How 'bout "personally astute," TB? As has been noted by others here, she may simply have hit the wall with the haranguing by a faction on the Village Board.

The State has investigated and found no irregularities, yet still they are baying at her heels, and the way I read it, she has done nothing wrong much less committed any misfeasance.

You suggest that there's a cloud over her head -- from here it looks like the real cloud is over Hank Tucker and his cohorts.

And, yes, ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1775), Northampton on Feb 17, 13 12:47 PM
If Mr Tucker and crew exposes these people then more power to them. As a taxpayer in WHB the Mayor needs to go. Enough with his antics.
By realistic (414), westhampton on Feb 17, 13 1:48 PM
OK gents, point by point. First, But:

Yes, I do believe 13 years in public employment involves learning a great deal about politics, unless the individual is dense, and neither of us thinks Ms. Molinaro is that. It's especially educational when 10 of those 13 years were spent working for Fred Thiele, one of the most astute politicians on Long Island.

It's true that New York State gave the financial slip-ups a pass, but as you point out, certain WHB trustees didn't, so the issue ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1806), Quiogue on Feb 18, 13 10:12 AM
Once again, you dazzle us with your ability to twist using the written word. It is you sir, who seeks to disparage Ms Molinaro due to her right side of the aisle leanings. It was the intent of your original posting to besmirch her, and you darn welll know that.
As far as her timing? Opportunity knocks just once. Here was an opportunity to leave a cesspool of small town chumps ( Tucker et al) and go to a place where she is replacing someone who held the seat for decades.
The issue of the ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1277), Hampton Bays on Feb 18, 13 11:18 AM
> "I would have been content to post my original
> comment and leave it at that.......

Of course you would have, hoping that you wouldn't get called on it.

Well, you have, and have been found wanting -- and I'm trying to be polite here.

I absolutely agree with "Blank" that your sole intention, whatever the reason, to comment on this story, was "to besmirch" Ms. Molinaro.

What you've done is "spin" Ms. Molinaro's move as a bad one by characterizing it "a ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1775), Northampton on Feb 18, 13 5:21 PM
But and W, you should both spend less energy speculating on other posters' motives and more energy addressing the substance of their posts. All that I did in my original post was to question the behavior of a public employee, which is the right of any citizen. Some (myself included) would say that it's not just the right, but the duty, of a citizen.

For that, the two temple dogs who apparently guard the sanctity of this public employee, came charging out to savage me. Turns out they're ...more
By southamptondems (6), southampton on Feb 18, 13 11:20 PM
Sorry all, mistakenly used a screen name immediately above that has never been used before -- please note that it's comment #1 under that name -- and will never be used again if I don't make a similar mistake some time. Why do I even have it? It's the name that allows me to read locked articles, that's all. Again, apologies, first comment ever under that name, no harm, no foul.
By Turkey Bridge (1806), Quiogue on Feb 18, 13 11:30 PM
If "just guilty of lousy judgment" isn't besmirching, then I don't know what is.

And your insistence that every time you are called out just further validates your original comment, is the faltering refuge of an exposed scoundrel!

(Speaking of which, just how many identities DO you use here, TB? I make this at least the third, if not more.)

I cannot speak for "Blank," but no temple dog here -- just someone who recognizes your game for exactly what it is. I've defended ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1775), Northampton on Feb 19, 13 12:11 AM
Clearly we disagree on what constitutes "besmirching," as I don't include an accusation of lousy judgment under that head. If it were, then I and many others would be vulnerable to besmirchment at least a couple of times a week. To me besmirching would be charging someone with something significantly more culpable than just poor judgment.

The terminology isn't important, though. Whatever you call it, the two sides keep a watch on each other -- if a Dem in public life behaves questionably, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1806), Quiogue on Feb 19, 13 9:38 AM
Mr. Wheeler apparently possesses the ability to see into people minds over the internet. He uses his perceived omniscience as an excuse to attack any idea or thought for which he does not have a sensible and logical comeback. It is always the most partisans of hacks that find it necessary to accuse others of partisanship.
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Feb 19, 13 10:00 AM
Ok beachgirl, don't be a hater, it only ties your stomach up in a knot on those late nights when you are thinking about your life. You did the best you could, things just didn't work out but you will be ok. And don't worry, East Hampton will be ok without your input, WHB certainly is.
By jimmyk24 (13), east quogue on Feb 16, 13 5:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
After hearing some of these stories I wonder why they hired her. Only 9 people applied for the job. I guess one of them wasn't Len Bernard or Ben zwirn.
By razza5350 (1895), East Hampton on Feb 17, 13 6:06 AM
Let me take a guess who will be first canidate to replace Ms. Molinaro, could it be that savior Scott Augustine who was brought here at tax payers expense to babble about he same thing over and over again. We drove away one of our own ( Ms. RM product of WHB school system ) for an outsider. Shouldn't surprise anyone half the Town Board are outsiders. Come on voters wake up election day is a few months away. Haven't we had enough of the Nassau county way of politics.
By westendoftown (18), whb on Feb 17, 13 9:22 AM
1 member liked this comment
Has anyone thought of the fact that she will be making $30k more in E.H? Sounds like a good career move to me.
By tenn tom (187), remsenburg on Feb 19, 13 8:22 AM
Duh! No one is questioning if it was a good move for her. People are questioning how well she was vetted and the mistakes she made serving at WHB. Based on the article on EH patch it appears she was hand picked and the whole interview/application process was a mere formality. I do not know who applied for the job but if one of them was Len Bernard or Ben zwirn I would question this hiring.
By razza5350 (1895), East Hampton on Feb 19, 13 11:15 PM
Come on Razza she worked 10 years for Fred Thiele of course she will get the job. The best they can hire is a person who can't figure out that payroll in WHB was wrong for a whole year. How about the MBA's that can't find a job for any salary? Did they interview any of them? I don't know this lady, but it is unfair not to interview other candidates for the job. I don't live in East Hampton Village, but since all these little villages are asking for Federal money I think it's ok for me to speak ...more
By chief1 (2392), southampton on Mar 1, 13 9:17 AM
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