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Tiffany Scarlato resigns after 5 years as Southampton town attorney

Southampton Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato has resigned after

Southampton Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato has resigned after five years, amidst a change of power at Town Hall. Photo Credit: Sag Harbor Express / Kathryn G. Menu

Southampton Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato has resigned after five years, amidst a change of power at Town Hall.

The Southampton Town Board voted 4-0 on Tuesday to accept Scarlato’s resignation and replace her on an interim basis with Deputy Town Attorney Kathleen Murray.

Scarlato served through most of former Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst’s six-year tenure. Her departure comes a week after Jay Schneiderman was sworn in as supervisor.

Following the vote, Schneiderman thanked Scarlato for her service and said the town board would search for a new attorney. Scarlato did not attend the meeting. Schneiderman could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Scarlato said she looked forward to returning to private practice at her Sag Harbor law firm, which specializes in land use and criminal cases.

“Being a town attorney is not a lifetime appointment,” she said. “I’m pretty excited.”

Scarlato was hired in March 2011, after her predecessor Michael Sordi resigned 10 months into his tenure amid criticism that he filed a late response in a $70 million federal lawsuit against Southampton.

Scarlato said she believed she was a “stabilizing influence” during a rocky period at Town Hall.

“It was after a pretty big turmoil in there,” she said. “My being there and the experience that I had brought the office back together again.”

Scarlato’s office oversaw the town’s defense in high-dollar land-use lawsuits common in the Hamptons, and a flurry of lawsuits related to turmoil in the town police department beginning in 2012. As head of the town’s code enforcement department, she was also involved in efforts to crack down on illegal and overcrowded housing in communities such as Hampton Bays.

Scarlato was paid $122,039 in 2014. Murray will be paid $132,651 as interim town attorney, according to a resolution passed Tuesday.

Town Board members also voted 4-0 to raise the salary of Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone from $25,500 to $30,000. Zappone, a former school administrator, served as Throne-Holst’s deputy and is continuing in the part-time post under Schneiderman.

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