By Jennifer Solis
---- — 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.
According to the posting, the chief assessor works under the direction of the finance director and the three-member elected Board of Assessors. Responsibilities included the administrative, technical and supervisory work related to the valuation of all property within the town. The chief assessor also provides related financial information, analysis and consultation to the finance director and to other town departments and is in charge of management of the Assessor’s Office.
Candidates should have “skills equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in public administration, business, or finance, and 5-7 years of progressively responsible experience, several of which were in a supervisory role.” He or she must also be state-certified and be a Massachusetts accredited assessor.
The salary range is $75,000 to $86,681. Applications must be submitted to Sproul by Dec. 31.
Also on the selectmen’s agenda for tonight is a meeting with police Chief Lisa Holmes and fire Chief Scott Berkenbush; renewal of liquor licenses for West Newbury Food Mart and The West Newbury Pizza Company; a request to use the Town Annex for a retirement party; applications for street openings at 7 Whetstone St., 14 Hilltop Circle and 243 Main St.; the Comcast cable television license agreement; and the Page Elementary School lease agreement.
Listed under correspondence on the agenda are a memo from Massachusetts Telecommunications and Cable regarding the expiration of the Verizon cable license in October 2016; and an email about bow hunting from Jamus Driscoll.