NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 20, 2012

Assessor resigns, citing political climate

WEST NEWBURY — Citing weariness over a difficult political climate in town in recent years, Karen Rassais has resigned as the town’s chief assessor.

Rassais notified Finance Director Warren Sproul of her decision in a letter dated Nov. 8. Her resignation is effective Friday, Nov. 30.

Discussion of the resignation is listed as part of an agenda for a rare Tuesday night meeting of the Board of Selectmen at 7 p.m. in the First Floor Hearing Room of the 1910 Town Office Building.

When reached yesterday, Rassais said she preferred not to comment further about her motivation for leaving the post she has held for the past eight years, but instead would let her letter of resignation speak for itself.

“I think that says about as much as I probably should,” she said.

In it, Rassais states that although she has been challenged in her work, supported by her colleagues and encouraged by management, “during the past few years the political climate has been disheartening.” Therefore, when “an unexpected career opportunity” arose, she said she decided, “it was time for me to move on with my career.”

Rassais noted that because it is a recertification year, she tried to “stay long enough to see the project through to the end.” She indicated to Sproul that she would be available for questions as the recertification process proceeds if need be.

Her departure follows changes in the town’s finance director and assistant treasurer positions over the past 18 months. The veteran assessor said she hoped that going forward, the negative climate she experienced would change “for the benefit of the town and its employees.”

Sproul has advertised the position on the Massachusetts Municipal Association and the Massachusetts Association of Assessing Officers websites. He sent it to the Department of Unemployment Assistance in Haverhill on yesterday and plans to post it in the town office building and advertise it in the newspaper.

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