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Volume 2 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 42

Opinions of Counsel index

Assessor (term of office) - Real Property Tax Law, § 1522:

Where a vacancy is created in the office of assessor by the death or resignation of the incumbent, a successor may be appointed only for the balance of the unexpired six-year term which commenced on October 1, 1971.

We have received an inquiry relative to the term of office of assessor under Article 15-A of the Real Property Tax Law enacted by Chapter 957 of the Laws of 1970. Specifically, our opinion was requested as to the term to be held by an individual appointed to fill a vacancy created in the office of assessor by the death or resignation of an incumbent who had been appointed to a six-year term.

Pursuant to section 6 of Chapter 957 the terms of office of city and town assessors (cities and towns to which Article 15-A is applicable) terminated on September 30, 1971, and each city and town appointing authority was required to appoint an assessor in accordance with the provisions of that act for terms commencing on October 1. Article 15-A, section 1522, subdivision 2 provides, with certain exceptions, that the term of office of assessor shall be six years. “Such terms shall commence on the first day of October, nineteen hundred seventy-one and each sixth year thereafter.” Subdivision 4(c) of section 1522 provides for the appointment of a successor for the balance of the unexpired term where an appointment has been revoked.

The statutory language clearly requires that there be a new six-year term each sixth year commencing with October 1, 1971. Where an appointment is revoked, the law limits the appointment of a successor to the balance of the unexpired term. Therefore, it is concluded that should a vacancy occur for any reason, including death or resignation, a successor may be appointed only for the balance of the unexpired six-year term. It is also noted that a similar conclusion was reached with respect to the position of county director of real property tax services, a new position created by the same act.

September 5, 1972

Updated: