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Action allegedly illegal

To the Times of Ti:

December 2011 Crown Point town board voted to appoint Ronnie Clarke and Glenn Russell to fill two vacancies on the board of assessment review.

Jan. 5, 2012, organizational meeting - Supervisor Charlie Harrington moved:

“I move that the December appointments to the board of assessment review be rescinded and propose that the vacant position previously held by Jack Rafferty be advertised for 30 days at which time the council will appoint with input from the board of assessment review. Also Joseph Duval, who was a member in good standing, on the assessment review board be reappointed for another term. He has voiced an interest in being reinstated to the board of assessment review.”

Motion carried: Harrington, Mazurowski, Peters, Walters; Yea. Patnode; Nay.

1971 New York State Real Property Tax Law 523(1)(b): ‘board of assessment review shall consist of…five members appointed by the legislative body of the local government’

1974 NYS Opinion of Counsel: board of assessment review (removal of member) - ‘Any town…officer may be removed from office by the supreme court for any misconduct, maladministration, malfeasance or malversation in office.’ ‘… members of the board of assessment review cannot be removed except for incompetency or misconduct shown after a hearing upon stated Charges pursuant to section 75’.

2008 NYS ruled a previous member of board of assessment review’s term expired 9/30/07. Council appointed a new member in December 2007. ‘Applying Public Officers Laws 5 and 38 and Real Property Tax Law 523(1)(c) the appointment of the current appointee was correctly made for the remainder of the term that, by statute runs, from 10/1/07 to 9/30/12.’

2012 Robert Aiken, Director, Northern Regional Office, Real Property Tax Services, Albany, stated the issue about advertising is moot because state law supercedes local resolution.

Clearly, the motion, put forth by Charlie Harrington, passed by four members of the board, is illegal.

Glenn Russell

Crown Point

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