Huntington has appointed Assistant Town Attorney Cindy Mangano as town attorney, following a tense exchange between town board members.

Democratic town board member Susan Berland, who sponsored the appointment resolution late in Tuesday's town board meeting, said Mangano's 10 years in the town attorney's office makes her right for the job.

"She has been an incredible asset to the town attorney's office since I advocated for her to come to the town in 2002," Berland said afterward. Mangano is a Democrat.

Republican town board member Mark Mayoka and Independence Party board member Gene Cook supported the Mangano appointment, which was approved, 3-2.

The vote took place as town Supervisor Frank Petrone and town board member Mark Cuthbertson, both Democrats, disagreed with Berland's choice. Cuthbertson described the last-minute timing of the nomination and another Berland proposal as "resolution by ambush." Berland's first proposed resolution -- to appoint a town attorney and two deputies -- failed to secure the votes to be added to the agenda.

Her second resolution sought to appoint Mangano, but Petrone and Cuthbertson both tried to amend it by suggesting alternative candidates. Petrone recommended Republican David Reilly, vice chairman of the Huntington Republican Committee; and Cuthbertson nominated ex-Republican State Supreme Court appellate division judge Robert Lifson. "There were and are far more well-rounded candidates," Cuthbertson said Wednesday.

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Mangano, whose post pays $149,824 annually, could not be reached for comment. She replaces John Leo, who was elected to State Supreme Court. Mangano's brother-in-law is Republican Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.

Despite his opposition, Petrone praised Cindy Mangano Wednesday as an exceptional litigator. "I'm hopeful that she will be as organized in running that department as she is with her litigation," he said.