LAKE PLACID - The town board hopes to appoint an assessor to replace Kimball Daby, the town's longtime lead assessor who died at the end of October, by Jan. 1.
Town Supervisor Roby Politi said at Tuesday's town board meeting that the town needs to solicit people who might be interested in the full-time position.
North Elba has three assessors. Daby, who assessed property for the town for nine terms totaling 35 years, was the full-time chairman, and Jim Bishop and Art Jubin work part time. It is up to the town board to appoint the chairman.
Politi said the town will seek someone knowledgable about property values who can work with information like real estate data from local markets, and who has the ability to manage budgets and personnel. The candidate would also need to be able to communicate well with others and have strong public-relation skills, Politi said.
"I think that there will be people that are interested, and we will establish a committee to review resumes of folks and ultimately have the committee make a recommendation," Politi said.
The salary for the position has been established at $39,920.92 plus benefits, he said.
Politi said a potential assessor doesn't have to live in the town to be appointed, but when the position would be up for election next November, the person would have to live in the town to be elected.
The board could choose to switch the position to an appointed one, but then it could never be switched back to an elected one. Politi said there are good reasons to argue both sides. The position is a specialized job in terms of the education and knowledge necessary to do it properly, but an appointed assessor could feel beholden to the board that appointed him or her, Politi said.
"I've always been a believer in the elected position," he said.
Councilman Derek Doty noted that a few years ago, the town board proposed switching its highway superintendent position to an appointed one, but voters overwhelmingly shot that down at the polls.
"I think a lot of people feel they want to have a right to vote," Politi said. "They want to have a say."