"After 30 years of service to the Village of East Hampton, I've advised the board of my intention to retire," Village Administrator Larry Cantwell said last Friday morning. At the close of last week's meeting of the village board, Mayor Paul Rickenbach turned to his long time colleague, announcing he had a statement he wished to make.
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Cantwell said he would hold any detailed comment until his last meeting next year, informing that he would remain in his position until next June or July, depending on how long it takes his replacement to transition.
Still, he offered brief thanks to Rickenbach, pointing out, "I have a very special relationship with Mayor Rickenbach," who's offered him guidance and support during his two decades at the helm.
"It's been an honor and a privilege for me to be Village Administrator over the past 30 years," the soft-spoken official continued. "I thank the Board of Trustees for providing me with their confidence that has enabled me to do my job."
Cantwell offered heartfelt praise for village employees who have "given me their help every step of the way."
"Without question," he asserted, "They are the real heroes of the village . . . it would have been impossible for me to do my job without their help . . . any time I asked them, they were always there."
Cantwell saved final thanks for the residents of East Hampton Village. "They always treated me with respect."
Board members on the dais seemed visibly moved, an observation the mayor confirmed. "It's difficult to put into words what I think is felt by everybody here at the head table," he said, relating that when Cantwell told members that he planned to retire privately "You could hear a pin drop."
Calling his colleague "a legend in his own time" boasting a "sterling" reputation, Rickenbach promised there will be a time for public recognition of Cantwell's accomplishments at a future date. In the interim, he wished his confrere "a successful journey."
Noting there will be ample time to say all she wanted to about Cantwell, Trustee Barbara Borsack simply offered, "It's a sad day." The veteran official's successor will have "big shoes to fill," she added.
Making a pledge to work on a seamless transition, the mayor invited interested individuals to submit applications and resumes to the village administrator.
"I've got a heavy heart making this announcement," he concluded.