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Mar 16, 2012 5:27 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Could Soon See New Comptroller

Mar 21, 2012 10:15 AM

The end to an ongoing search for a new Southampton Town comptroller may be in sight: The Town Board could appoint someone as early as Friday.

A special meeting is expected to be convened on Friday and could include a resolution to appoint a new candidate to the town’s top financial seat, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said. She noted that after failing to find a candidate they could agree on last week, board members agreed to reopen the search for a qualified candidate and may have found someone everyone could agree to appoint.

“The Town Board has received a small number of new resumes and has identified a qualified candidate,” Ms. Throne-Holst said on Tuesday.

The individual, whom the supervisor declined to identify, was interviewed in executive session last Friday and will be scheduled to attend this Friday’s work session for a public interview, the supervisor said.

“We are further noticing a special Town Board meeting for the same day to consider a couple of issues, and I am hopeful the comptroller appointment will be one of them,” Ms. Throne-Holst said.

The board is seeking a replacement for former Comptroller Tamara Wright, who resigned to take a position with Brookhaven Town. She began her new position as Brookhaven’s commissioner of finance on March 1.

Initially, board members interviewed six potential candidates, narrowing it to two—C. Omarr Evans, the original top choice of Ms. Throne-Holst, and John Morris, the pick favored by other board members. Both were interviewed publicly by the board on March 9. But, in the end, neither candidate won the support of a three-member majority of the board, and the search was reopened last week.

After weeks of discussion, Councilman Chris Nuzzi said this week he was pleased with the care taken to find the right candidate. “I was supportive of the additional time given to allow for screening of all candidates for comptroller, considering the importance of the position, and am hopeful that the board will decide in the very near future on who will fill the position,” he said. “It is my hope that there will be consensus on the appointment.”

Councilwoman Bridget Fleming said the additional candidate was interviewed in executive session last week. “I understand he’s being considered,” she said.

Ms. Fleming has said that after having worked with Ms. Wright, whom she believes brought “an extraordinary amount of skill and commitment to the position,” candidates needed to be carefully vetted. “As a former fraud prosecutor, I am concerned that whoever takes her place needs to have a very high level of skill, and so I’m obligated to ask tough questions and get to the bottom of the skills and experience that any candidate brings,” she said.

Ms. Throne-Holst said that while she cannot speak for her Town Board colleagues, they have all agreed to Friday’s interview and possible special meeting.

The delay in filling the post has sparked questions about how the functions of Southampton Town will be impacted in the short and long term without a comptroller onboard. The board also accepted the resignation of Deputy Town Comptroller Kathy Scott, whose last day was March 15.

Already, Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor has said although the funds for his 2012 town highway projects were approved, no bonding could commence without a comptroller.

“The bonding is scheduled to move forward as planned,” Ms. Throne-Holst said, adding that what also remains in place, in the comptroller’s absence, is the requirement that department heads provide appropriate backup materials for all expenditures, without which, no requisition orders can commence.

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Give it to Gregor.
By Local dad (51), North Sea on Mar 18, 12 7:58 AM
It only gets worse and worse -- no comptroller and no deputy comptroller. We wouldn't be in this state if the Republican/Conservative group on the Town Board hadn't driven out Tamara Wright, the one comptroller who finally straightened out the mess that they got us into. It's like the householder who neglects his plumbing until the pipes burst, and then after the plumber comes and fixes it, he kicks the guy down the stairs.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Mar 18, 12 3:56 PM
They pushed out the one person who was getting everything in order by dragging their feet and now town business is at a stand still because they can't agree on a replacement. We need a town board that can work together not against one another on every issue. They will not find a candidate as experienced as Tamara and willing to accept the salary they offer. Put your differences aside and do whats right for the taxpayers.
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Mar 20, 12 9:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
This town board has yet to do anything that was right for the taxpayers, why would they start now??
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Mar 20, 12 9:20 AM
1 member liked this comment
Happy day. Maybe vendors for the town will get paid soon. But then again why should government care if the private sector can put food on the table.
By theprogram (37), east quogue on Mar 21, 12 6:16 PM
Have you ever really sat down and read what tyrant really means?

It's a VERY old word...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Mar 21, 12 7:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
I like old words, unfortunately only a few have been able to stand the test of time. "Akrasia" is a very old word as well.
By theprogram (37), east quogue on Mar 21, 12 9:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
I never was heavy into Greek society, but "veritas et aequitas" seem to be lacking in this day and age.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Mar 22, 12 7:38 PM
Leonard Marchese is being interviewed at 10 am and is being appointed at 11 am. the resolution is posted on the towns web site. why would she decline to identify him to the press?
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Mar 22, 12 9:38 PM