Supervisor Yvette Aguiar at the Jan. 23 work session. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar has changed her mind about appointing Councilman Tim Hubbard as deputy supervisor. Aguiar announced Thursday evening she intends to appoint Devon Higgins, her executive assistant, to the post.

Last week, after Deputy Supervisor Denise Merrifield abruptly resigned, Aguiar said she would appoint Hubbard to the post. Hubbard served in that capacity under former supervisor Laura Jens-Smith during the first year of her two-year term.

“Various” council members, former council members and other individuals came forward to express interest in the deputy supervisor post, Aguiar said in a press release.

Aguiar said Higgins has been “an integral part of my administration’s transition and has demonstrated strong personnel and management skills as well as the ability to work collaboratively with my various departments in moving our town forward.”

Higgins, a Jamesport resident, has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Loyola University. She is a certified paralegal and real estate broker.

The supervisor said last week Merrifield, a former prosecutor, resigned to pursue teaching law. Merrifield did not return a call seeking comment.

At the regular town board meeting Wednesday — pushed back a day due to the Martin Luther King Day holiday Monday — the town board approved a help wanted advertisement for the position of budget officer in the town supervisor’s office. Aguiar said she was convinced of the need for a budget office during a training session she attended in Albany last week. The state comptroller’s office stressed the importance of the budget officer position, she said on Friday. Her predecessor created a budget officer position when she took office, but the person appointed to the post was terminated after a few months and the position was not filled after that.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board appointed Lisa Darrow Richards as secretary to the supervisor and Frances Shackel as a part-time office assistant.

Aguiar said in the press release Thursday evening she wanted to “specifically thank Councilman Tim Hubbard for his consideration.”

Hubbard said Thursday afternoon Aguiar had changed her mind about appointing him as deputy supervisor but he didn’t know why.

“Apparently she felt pressured by other people, I think,” Hubbard said. “She was in turmoil about it,” he said.

“I’m not in turmoil. My office is not in turmoil,” Aguiar said. “I’m making the best decisions for my town. I need to move my town forward.”

In a press release announcing her intention to appoint Higgins as her deputy, Aguiar said, “I will be constantly evaluating my executive staff and will never hesitate to restructure my office for enhanced efficiency and productivity for Riverhead Town.”

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.