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North Hempstead town attorney leaves post to work in supervisor's office

Elizabeth Botwin is unable to continue as town attorney for personal reasons, the town supervisor said. She will be replaced by Leonard Kapsalis, a Stony Brook lawyer.

Botwin is the latest North Hempstead employee to

Botwin is the latest North Hempstead employee to exit from a top-level position. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

North Hempstead Town Attorney Elizabeth Botwin has stepped down from her post, making her the latest employee to exit from a top-level position.

Supervisor Judi Bosworth announced Tuesday that Botwin is no longer able to work as the top attorney and that the town has hired Leonard Kapsalis as her replacement.

“Liz Botwin has served us so beautifully and so well as our town attorney and, because of personal reasons, is not able to continue in this full-time position,” Bosworth said during a town council meeting.

Bosworth and council members on Tuesday approved a personnel resolution that makes Botwin a special counselor in the supervisor’s office. Her annual salary has dropped to $82,238 from $98,685, with lower amount reflecting that Botwin will now work roughly 20 hours a week.

Botwin had been in the post since January 2014. Before that, she was deputy commissioner for administration and planning for New York City's finance department. She has also worked as a deputy comptroller and deputy attorney for Nassau County. 

In October, the town reduced Botwin's work schedule to part-time for personal reasons, reducing her annual salary to $98,685 from the original full-time $164,475.

Special counsel for the supervisor's office is a position that has been on the town books, but has remained vacant. Botwin, in that role, is to advise Bosworth on all legal matters. Botwin's first major project will be a review of the town workers' compensation defense program. 

Kapsalis is a Stony Brook-based lawyer who spent 12 years as the deputy bureau chief in the general litigation section of Suffolk County’s law department. The St. John’s University graduate also spent 15 years at Hauppauge-based law firm Siben & Ferber.

“Mr. Kapsalis is experienced in municipal law and personal-injury law, which are major focuses of the [town attorney’s] office,” Bosworth said.

 Kapsalis’ annual salary will be $155,000. Kapsalis, who starts Jan. 7, said in a statement that he thanked the town for "granting me the honor and privilege" of joining the staff. 

"I look forward to working with them and everyone in the Town Attorney’s Office to serve the people of this wonderful Town,” Kapsalis said in the statement. 

Tuesday also marked other changes in the town attorney's office. The town hired Samantha Rose Flores as an assistant town attorney at an annual salary of $65,000. Assistant town attorney Adriana Demirciyan has been promoted to deputy town attorney with a $65,000 annual salary. Deputy town attorney Neera Roopsingh received a $5,000 raise to $71,138 annually. 

Earlier this month, deputy supervisor Aline Khatchadourian announced her resignation effective Jan. 11. Bosworth appointed her in October 2014, and in June 2017, Khatchadourian had her work reduced to part-time for personal reasons. 

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