Mangano names ex-Smithtown advisor as interim county assessor
MINEOLA – Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano took the first step in making his version of the county assessment system Monday. Mangano appointed former Smithtown Assessor Gregory Hild as the interim head of the county assessor’s office.
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Hild was the Smithtown Assessor for 26 years before retiring this past August. Since his retirement, he has served as special assistant to Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio.
Mangano fired sitting assessor Ted Jankowski on Friday. Jankowski was one of the few holdovers from the Suozzi administration and his appointment was approved by the legislature under Democratic control – all Republicans along with then legislator Ed Mangano voted against the Boston native.
“The public has lost faith in our assessment system,” Mangano said. “We must restore faith and ensure that homeowners and businesses are assessed fairly and accurately.” Mangano estimates that the total errors made by the Assessment Department over the last several years account for half of the County’s $2.6 billion in debt.
The interim commission, led by Hild, will work in conjunction with the offices of county Comptroller George Maragos. “Our homeowners and employers will greatly benefit from a full review conducted by Chairman Hild – an experienced professional assessor,” said Maragos. The team he has assembled will be tasked with looking into past problems within the Department of Assessment and learning what went right and what went wrong.
Democrats do not knock Hild. Legislator Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn) said that he “had only heard good things” about Hild. The frustration comes from the long term plan of County
Executive Mangano to change the assessment time period. Currently, a homeowner has their property accessed once a year. Mangano’s plan is to go to a four year assessment in order to avoid an annual increase. Democrats cite NIFA and other agencies that are adamantly against the proposal.
“By reassessing annually that should be the best way to get the kinks out of the system frankly,” said Wink.
Wink and even Mangano blame a county computer system for many of the errors since in the budget debts. The error is similar to the “fat finger” chaos from May of this year that tanked the stock market all due to a simple error.
Republicans and Democrats also agree that town and village assessments are almost always accurate. It was, after all, several local assessors who caught the school tax error that ultimately led Jankowski to be out of a job.