Former Marine sergeant to be hired as Town Board coordinator

04/10/2013 11:11 AM |
NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Town Hall on Howell Avenue.

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Town Hall on Howell Avenue.

Update (1:00 p.m.): Four Riverhead council members confirmed to the News-Review Wednesday that the Town Board will hire Carissa Willis of Calverton for the vacant Town Board coordinator position. Below is the original story:

Is a Marine sergeant what the Riverhead Town Board needs to coordinate it?

Could be.

After board members interviewed a dozen candidates for the vacant Town Board coordinator position in an executive session meeting last Thursday, Carissa Willis of Calverton appeared to be the front runner, officials said this week.

Ms. Willis served in the United States Marine Corps from 1996 to 2001 and attained the rank of sergeant.

But on Tuesday, board members disagreed about whether Ms. Willis would be hired or additional interviews would take place.

Councilmen John Dunleavy and George Gabrielsen said they were under the impression she would be hired.

But council members Jim Wooten and Jodi Giglio were under the impression that the board planned to conduct additional interviews before making a decision.

Supervisor Sean Walter was away and did not participate in the interviews, Mr. Gabrielsen said.

The board hopes to hire a Riverhead Town resident for the job, he added.

The Town Board has had three coordinators in the past three years. The latest, Tracey Densieski, resigned as of March 29 because a side business she has, selling a product called Qivana, has taken off and she wants to devote more time to it.

Ms. Densieski was hired in December, shortly after the Town Board unceremoniously fired her predecessor, Linda Hulse, in a heated 3-2 vote in which Supervisor Sean Walter backed Ms. Hulse, arguing that her dismissal came without any board discussion.

Ms. Hulse had gotten the job in 2011 when her predecessor, Donna Zlatniski, left after having a baby. Ms. Zlatniski later filed a million-dollar lawsuit claiming her resignation was coerced after she had been accused of doing political work for Councilman Jim Wooten, which she denied.

tgannon@timesreview.com