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Volume 7 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 8

Opinions of Counsel index

Compatibility of office (assessor - supervisor’s clerk) - Real Property Tax Law, § 102(3); Town Law, § 29:

The offices of elected town assessor and town supervisor’s clerk are compatible.

We have received an inquiry as to whether the offices of elected town assessor (Real Property Tax Law, §102(3)) and supervisor’s clerk are compatible positions. We assume that “supervisor’s clerk” is a reference to the position provided for in subdivision 15 of section 29 of the Town Law, which provides:

§29. Powers and duties of supervisor

Except where powers or duties specified herein are devolved upon the town comptroller pursuant to section thirty-four of this chapter, the supervisor of each town
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15. In towns of the first class, may designate a bookkeeper or confidential secretary, or both. In towns of the second class, the town board may by resolution authorize the supervisor of the town to designate a bookkeeper or confidential secretary; or both. A person so designated by the supervisor, shall receive a reasonable compensation for his services, to be fixed by the town board and such compensation shall be a town charge.

It would appear that the duties of this secretary (or clerk) are basically non-discretionary, and that this person functions at the behest of the supervisor. In addition, we have previously expressed the opinion that the offices of town assessor and town budget officer are compatible (4 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 91). A supervisor’s clerk would seemingly have even less discretion in performing his duties than would a town budget officer.

Accordingly, in our opinion, the positions of elected assessor and appointed supervisor’s bookkeeper or confidential secretary are compatible and no conflict of interest is present.

January 10, 1980

Updated: