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Riverhead town supervisor’s staff payroll expected to drop

Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith addresses the audience

Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith addresses the audience after being given the oath of office on Jan. 1, 2018 Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

New hires and other staff changes in the Riverhead Town supervisor’s office are projected to save the town almost $60,000 annually.

The Riverhead Town Board recently appointed Bryan Carroll to the newly created position of town budget officer and terminated the employment of current Deputy Town Supervisor Jill Lewis.

Carroll, who will be tasked with creating the town’s budget along with other responsibilities, will be paid $53,448 annually. Lewis was paid $92,158 in 2016, according to town payroll records.

Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said Lewis was not being laid off, but was leaving voluntarily and Lewis had “graciously” stayed on for the beginning of 2018 in order to help Jens-Smith’s staff transition into office.

The staff changes go into effect Feb. 20.

Previously, under former town Supervisor Sean Walter’s administration, the combined salaries and benefits of four employees in the supervisor’s office — including the supervisor, deputy supervisor, legislative secretary Carol Sclafani, and Lawrence Levy, the chief of staff under Walter’s office listed as an executive assistant — cost a total of $493,170.46, according to Jens-Smith’s office.

The incoming staff will see the deputy supervisor’s role transition into either a nonpaying or “nominal” paying role, Jens-Smith said, while Jens-Smith — slated to make $145,938 with benefits in 2018 — will be taking $36,872 less than Walter’s original total of $182,811 with benefits.

A new deputy supervisor will be named in the next few weeks, Jens-Smith said.

Three new staff members for Jens-Smith — executive assistant John Marafino, legislative secretary Patrick Derenze and part-time legislative secretary Cynthia Clifford — will be making a combined $168,932. That’s $17,253 less than the $186,185 that the supervisor’s office previously paid out for full-time executive assistant and legislative secretary positions.

The series of staff changes the board approved on Feb. 6 would mean Riverhead would pay $435,000, trimming nearly $60,000 from the town’s payroll, Jens-Smith said.

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