Former Wright town assessor sues over removal

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
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— A former assessor fired after an uproar over increased assessments is taking legal action against the town of Wright.

Steven Rubeor, who serves as assessor for the towns of Schoharie and Esperance, targets town officials in an Article 78 petition filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court.

He is seeking reinstatement to the position and pay he lost since the town pulled out of the three-town assessment system.

The legal action stems from the town of Wright ending its participation in a consolidated assessment program with Schoharie and Esperance late last year.

The three towns joined in 2008 to take advantage of cost savings from sharing assessment administration and staff. But Wright pulled out late last year after residents claimed major changes in values applied to their properties were unfair. Assessments were boosted by a total of $12 million on 361 of about 900 properties.

Rubeor, who has said the changes came after a thorough review of the entire town, declined to comment on his petition Wednesday. His attorney, Daniel A. Jacobs of the law firm of Gleason, Dunn, Walsh & O’Shea, also declined to comment on the case.

Rubeor contends in court papers that the position of assessor carries a six-year term he is entitled to hold until it expires in August. According to the complaint, the town has to notify a town officer of any grounds for removal and provide that officer with an opportunity to be heard.

The removal of a town officer, according to the lawsuit, requires an application to the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, which didn’t happen.

Wright town Councilman Edward Thornton said Wednesday he did not have details about the Article 78 petition, but he thinks town officials are planning to meet next week to discuss a response.

After ending its participation in the program, the town hired Susan Crosby to serve as assessor. Crosby said Wednesday she’s in the process of a reassessment that began at the start of this year.

Wright’s pullout left Schoharie and Esperance out roughly $22,000 Wright contributed to the assessment program. Schoharie town Supervisor Eugene Milone said Wednesday the towns continue to seek another town to join in the program.

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