Copake addresses its assessor mess

COPAKE—Ghent Assessor Lynn Hotaling is now also the assessor for the Town of Copake.

Mrs. Hotaling of Ghent was appointed to the post at the January 11 Copake Town Board meeting.

To recap, former Sole Assessor J. Craig Surprise’s employment with the town was terminated at the board’s December 14 meeting. Neither town officials nor Mr. Surprise would comment on the situation. Two weeks later, at the town’s yearend meeting December 28, the motion to terminate Mr. Surprise’s employment was rescinded. Again, neither town officials nor Mr. Surprise would comment on the situation.

Though he was no longer terminated, he was apparently not reinstated as the town’s sole assessor. His name was removed from the town’s website and the town was temporarily “assessorless.”

At the town’s January 11 meeting, the board accepted Mr. Surprise’s resignation dated January 9, effective immediately. The board then appointed Mrs. Hotaling as the new assessor effective January 15 through September 30, 2019.

Mrs. Hotaling has been an assessor in Copake before and also previously served as deputy town clerk.

The resignation wasn’t the last word on Mr. Surprise. The board appointed him as “assessor consultant on the revaluation completion” from January 9 through February 28. Town Supervisor Jeff Nayer said Mr. Surprise was appointed, “to get her up to speed. We want a smooth transition.”

Neither the supervisor nor board members elaborated further. The town’s assessor is paid $28,000 annually. No mention was made about how much Mr. Surprise would be paid as assessor consultant.

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