Nashua Assessor Asleep at the Wheel
As reported by the Manchester Union Leader and the Nashua Telegraph, a Nashua city assessor is claimed to have been napping and driving around aimlessly in order to accrue mileage for reimbursement by the City when he was supposed to be conducting field work. A private citizen, Laurie Ortolano, hired a private investigator to follow Greg Turgiss, Nashua’s only certified supervisor in the assessor’s office, at the cost of $8,000. The private investigator claims to have observed and taken pictures of Mr. Turgiss parked outside a Holiday Inn or at the Rail Trail parking lot during hours that Mr. Turgiss claimed to have been doing field work.
The claim by Ms. Oranato’s attorney as set forth in the report filed with the City’s Board of Alderman is that after a month of surveillance, the private investigator found that Mr. Turgiss “has been signing out of the office saying he is doing field work when he is actually driving around aimlessly around to accrue mileage and waste time napping or sitting in his personal vehicle.”
As written about in this blog, Ms. Oranato exposed flaws in Nashua’s assessing practices as the result of her residence being revalued as part of a revaluation. The initial assessment of Ms. Oranato’s property was performed by Gary Turgiss, the brother of Greg Turgiss who also worked in the assessor’s office, resulted in a 50% increase in Ms. Oranato’s assessement. One of Ms. Oranto’s claims is that the employment of both Greg Turgiss and Gary Turgiss violates the anti-nepotism policy.
Greg Turgiss denies Ms. Oranato’s claims of impropriety and welcomes the City to conduct its own investigation. The City for its part has hired an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the claims.
While these claims may or may not be proven to be true, two things are certain. First of all, the job of assessor is subject to great scrutiny by members of the public and their representatives. For this reason, their jobs are extremely difficult. Secondly, like any profession, there is a wide range of professionalism in assessors. There are assessors who are conscientous, responsible and fair, and there are assessors who have little regard for the fairness of the assessments and are more interested in raising the maximum amount of revenue for their municipality sometimes with the least amount of work for themselves.
Allobar Strategies provides professional assistance in evaluating the fairness of property tax assessments. If you would like assistance with an evaluation of your property tax, please visit Allobar Strategies or call (603) 333-2211.
By: John F. Hayes, Esq., General Counsel to Allobar Strategies.