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Huntington Town Board appoints attorney as new receiver of taxes

Ester Bivona recently retired after more than 30 years in the receiver’s office, and her successor, Jillian Guthman, has worked for the town in other jobs.

Ester Bivona, seen here on July 28, 2015,

Ester Bivona, seen here on July 28, 2015, had been Huntington's receiver of taxes since 1991. Photo Credit: James Escher

Huntington has a new receiver of taxes after more than two decades, with the retirement of Ester Bivona and the appointment of attorney Jillian Guthman.

“It was time,” Bivona said. “I enjoyed it and I love it, and I’m here to help during the transition.”

Guthman, who had been the town’s director of human services, was sworn in at the Dec. 13 town board meeting and approved by a 4-1 vote. Councilman Gene Cook voted against the appointment.

“I’m very excited. I think it’s a fantastic opportunity,” Guthman said. “I’m looking forward to continuing my service to the community of Huntington in this capacity.”

Bivona resigned on Nov. 29, a date she said she chose to coincide with the end of the tax year on Nov. 30.

“This way it was a clean break and allowed the town board to go forward,” Bivona said.

Guthman is a Melville resident who received her law degree from Touro Law Center in Huntington. This is her second stint working for the town and will be her third job title. From 1998 to 2002, she was an assistant town attorney, and from 2002 to 2005, a deputy town attorney. Guthman left to work as an attorney for Hempstead Village, but returned to work for Huntington in 2007 as human services director.

She has also been an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County.

Her annual salary will be $130,253. Guthman will serve one year as an appointee and then will have to run for election for the final year of Bivona’s four-year term in 2019.

Bivona began her public service career in 1982 as deputy receiver of taxes for the Town of Huntington. In 1991, she was elected receiver of taxes and has served in that capacity since.

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