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Volume 2 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 68

Opinions of Counsel index

Assessor (salaries) - Town Law § 27(1):

In an assessing unit, if there is more than one assessor, their salaries must be equal, except for the chairman.

Our opinion has been requested as to whether all three assessors of an assessing unit must receive the same salary.

As to a disparity in salary among assessors serving on the same board, the State Comptroller has concluded that, if there is more than one assessor, their salaries must be equal, except for the chairman (20 Op.State Compt. 15; 15 Op.State Compt. 375).

The latter opinion of the State Comptroller (cited above) states in part as follows:

“The town board must fix, from time to time, the salaries of all officers, officials, and employees (Town L(aw) § 27(1). This section has been construed to mean that the town board may reduce the salary of an officer during his term of office (1944 Op. Atty. Gen. 100, informal). Therefore, reducing any salary payable to the officer in his capacity as chairman poses no problem. However, as we believe that the salaries of assessors must be equal (otherwise Town Law § 22-b, which authorizes additional compensation for the chairman of assessors, would be unnecessary), his salary may not be reduced below the salaries of the other assessors. The salaries of all three may be reduced in an equal amount at any time (5 Op. St. Compt. 412 (1949).* * *”

We are of the same opinion as the State Comptroller.

July 13, 1972

NOTE:  But see Opinion 9-39.

Updated: