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Port Jefferson Village treasurer resigns to take job in Riverhead Town government

Riverhead Town Hall on May 23, 2013.

Riverhead Town Hall on May 23, 2013. Photo Credit: Newsday

Port Jefferson Village Treasurer Donald Pearce has resigned to take a job with the Town of Riverhead, officials in both municipalities said.

Pearce began work last week as deputy financial administrator in Riverhead's Accounting Department, town Financial Administrator William Rothaar said. Pearce will be paid $90,000 annually, Rothaar said.

The Riverhead Town Board appointed Pearce on Aug. 4. He had been one of five candidates for the post, Rothaar said.

"He was the No. 1 pick," he said.

Port Jefferson Mayor Margot J. Garant said Pearce will be replaced on an interim basis by Dave Smollett, a former Lawrence Village administrator and former Farmingdale Village clerk.

Pearce's resignation was accepted last week by the Port Jefferson Village Board. He had helped village officials craft budgets and oversee the village's payroll and other financial issues.

"He did a fine job with the budget," Garant said. "He was a good employee."

Smollett was appointed for 60 days while village officials search for Pearce's permanent replacement, Garant said. She said Smollett "comes with strong recommendations" and could be a candidate for the permanent job.

She said Smollett's experience in Lawrence, which, like Port Jefferson, operates a golf course, should give him an advantage in managing Port Jefferson's $10.2 million annual budget.

"I don't think we could have found someone with better qualifications," Garant said. "He understands the unique needs that we have. . . . He's ready to take the job on, and that can be tough for someone because there's a lot of moving parts there."

In addition to hiring Smollett, the village board appointed former village trustee Adrienne Kessel to work in the treasurer's office 61/2 hours a day for $25 per hour during the transition to new leadership, Garant said.

Kessel, who did not seek re-election this year, previously had been a deputy village clerk before joining the village board.

Village claims auditor Barbara Britt will work an additional 10 hours per week as part of the transition, Garant said.

Another treasurer's office employee, senior account clerk Lynn Sule, also has resigned, Garant said. Sule has been appointed a senior accounting clerk for the Connetquot school district, a district spokeswoman said.


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