Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — SOMERSET — Town assessor Bob Glidden, who completed a town-wide property revaluation project in May, has resigned following a pay dispute with the town board.
Glidden, who has been assessor since 2003, argued that the board erred when it decided not to reimburse him for extra work he did for the re-val project which began in July 2011.
According to Glidden, the town compromised and paid him $5,900 of the $7,700 he felt he was owed.
“They didn’t give all of it, but gave a good chunk,” Glidden said. “The town board did it on a recommendation of the town attorney.”
According to Glidden, he hired a lawyer to represent him and the town lawyer recommended the town pay him rather than go to litigation. The board decided not to prolong the investigation, according to Supervisor Dan Engert. The town board and town assessor saw the salary dispute from a different perspective, the supervisor said.
Glidden resigned Friday, writing, “It is my own belief that the working environment is not conducive to supporting the needs of the community in a professional manner.”
In May, the board voted 4-1 to deny Glidden’s original request for compensation for the re-val work. Councilman Gary Alt thought Glidden should be paid.
Somerset had trimmed its three-member assessor team and appointed Glidden the sole assessor two years ago at $18,000. The town had not had a re-evaluation in over 10 years and it was overdue, according to Glidden.
Glidden argued the Request For Proposal (RFP) clearly states the assessor is to notify the owner when a re-val is needed. Nowhere does it indicate that the undertaking of a re-val project is included in the overall duties of the assessor. The task was in addition to the normal duties of the assessor.
The assessor said prior to the re-val project it was never stated that there would be no additional pay for the undertaking of the plan. The board agreed to have Glidden complete the work. At no time was it indicated that he would not be paid for the additional task.
According to Glidden, he presented a budget that clearly showed the estimated cost of the project completed by himself and the clerk. He also feels that the re-val clerk, Carol Maines, is owed $300 by the town.
“When I committed to tackling the project I was led to believe that this was in addition to normal duties and clearly expected compensation,” he wrote. “After witnessing the town board’s response on my submittal for reimbursement, I was totally astonished to hear their result ... I find it a disappointing situation where an employee has to retain legal counsel at his own expense and then to agree to less money just to receive what is ethically and legally owed to him.”
He said the town budgeted $20,000 for reevaluation and he feels that he saved the town money.
For now, Somerset does not have an assessor. According to Engert, the town will post a vacancy on its website. The assessor is appointed by the town council and is a civil service job.
The board will review compensation for the six-year term.
“We apprecate the service the former assessor provided to the town of Somerset,” Engert said. “He severed that relationship and the town will move forward.”