Suffolk County Budget Director Eric Naughton has resigned to take a new job at a health care organization in Georgia.
Naughton, who had served as Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s budget director since 2018, said he stepped down on April 27 to return to Georgia, where he previously lived.
Naughton began as chief financial officer for View Point Health, a behavioral health care organization, on Monday.
"My experience with County Executive Bellone was great over these last three years and I was proud of the changes that we've made financially," Naughton said in an interview with Newsday.
Naughton served previously as Suffolk’s deputy county executive for finance from 2009 to 2011 under former County Executive Steve Levy, and as Nassau’s deputy county executive for finance, county budget director and director of the Nassau County Legislature's Office of Budget Review.
Naughton earned $181,144 as Suffolk budget director in 2020, according to Suffolk County payroll records.
Stephanie Rubino, deputy county budget director, and Assistant Deputy County Executive for Finance Connie DeGiovine will assume Naughton's duties while Bellone's office conducts a search for a permanent budget director, Naughton and Bellone spokesman Derek Poppe said.
Legislative Presiding Officer Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue) called it, "unfortunate to lose [Naughton] at this point in time" as Suffolk County tries to "get into recovery mode from the pandemic."
"Eric was a very talented, very smart individual who understood county budgeting and had to come in during some difficult times, and I think that all in all, he did a very good job," Calarco said in an interview.
In June 2020, an outside panel reported that Suffolk could face pandemic-related budget gaps of up to $1.5 billion over three years.
The 2021 budget originally included substantial layoffs and service reductions. But those cuts were reversed after the county received an additional $283 million in federal aid from the federal coronavirus relief package, the American Rescue Plan.
Naughton said he is proud of his accomplishments as budget director, including creation of a multiyear fiscal plan and reduction of county deficits.
"Working for government was a pleasure, and just especially over the last year, the way we responded to the pandemic and how important it showed that the county government was, we were very proud every day to be there," Naughton said.