Volume 3 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 14
Assessor (Civil Service classification) (residency) - Real Property Tax Law, § 1522 :
For substantial significant reasons which conform with the Civil Service Law, the State Civil Service Commission would consider a local request for a change in classification of the office of assessor from competitive to noncompetitive. The residency provision of section 1522 of the Real Property Tax Law is permissive and does not preclude a locality from requiring local residency as a prior requirement for appointment.
Our opinion has been requested as to whether, by local option, the classification of the office of assessor in a particular city may be changed from competitive to noncompetitive and a local residency requirement imposed.
The provisions of Article 15-A of the Real Property Tax Law with respect to the office and position of assessor (§ 1522) apply to all cities with a population below 100,000 (§ 1562(b) ). Article 15-A also provides in section 1560 that “[p]rovisions of all general, special, local or other laws which are inconsistent with the provisions of this article shall be inapplicable to counties, cities and towns to which this article applies but if not inconsistent shall apply to such counties, cities and towns.” This article further provides in section 1558 that “[n]o ‘charter law,’ as such term is defined in section thirty-two of the municipal home rule law, nor local law shall be adopted which is inconsistent with the provisions of this article. . .”.
The position of assessor by provision of section 1522(3) is to be in the classified service. (The classified service is divided into four classes designated as competitive, noncompetitive, exempt and labor (Civil Service Law, § 40).) A determination with respect to classification must be made by the local civil service agency or personnel officer having jurisdiction, and is subject to review by the State Civil Service Commission. The State Civil Service Commission has established a policy whereby local civil service commissions or agencies may consider town or city legislative requests in determining the jurisdictional classification of the position of assessor. The State Civil Service Commission has noted that since neither the exempt nor labor classes are appropriate for the position of assessor, it follows that it must be classified as either competitive or noncompetitive. The State Civil Service Commission has also indicated that for substantial significant reasons which conform with the Civil Service Law it would consider a local request for a change in classification from competitive to noncompetitive.
With regard to residency, Article 15-A (§ 1522(1)) provides that “. . . [a]ny resident of the state, otherwise eligible for appointment as assessor, may be appointed assessor. . .”. The residency provision contained in section 1522 is permissive and it does not preclude a local civil service commission pursuant to its rules and regulations to require local residency as a prior requirement for appointment. It is also noted that a local civil service commission which has imposed a local residency requirement may nevertheless waive such requirement.
June 27, 1973