Schenectady announces choice of Barber for acting assessor
Move appears to end controversy over Waterfield
Updated 10:22 p.m.
SCHENECTADY Nicholas C. Barber has been named acting assessor for the city of Schenectady.
The appointment was announced Wednesday. And the city’s addition of Barber, the retired Schenectady County director of real property tax services, apparently ends the controversy over Ed Waterfield’s potential appointment as assessor.
It may not end the search for a full-time certified assessor. According to a news release issued by the office of Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, “Mr. Barber will spend the next six weeks evaluating the assessor’s office, its relocation and integration with the Bureau of Receipts.”
According to the release, Barber will make recommendations on the department to McCarthy and to the City Council.
McCarthy could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon and evening.
In September, the mayor said he wanted Waterfield — supervisor of the city’s Bureau of Receipts — for the position. But under state law, an assessor must have six months of experience. Waterfield had never before performed the duties of an assessor, which include appraisal work and analyzing sales to determine market value.
Barber, a former county legislator, worked as the county real property director from 1991 until 2010. He is a state-licensed real estate broker and owns his own real estate agency.
“I’m pleased to offer my expertise and assistance to the city in an effort to continue and improve services to the taxpayers and the assessment office,” Barber said, deferring questions about the appointment to McCarthy.
Barber takes over for Tina Dimitriadis, whose contract was not extended because she refused to move into Schenectady. Twelve people applied for the job, four of whom had assessing experience. But none of those candidates lived in the city, and McCarthy insisted that the assessor be a city resident.
Barber lives in Schenectady.
City Councilman Vince Riggi has known Barber since high school — both are members of Mont Pleasant High School’s Class of 1964.
“I think he’s a good person for it. He’s certainly got the experience,” Riggi said of the appointment. “Hopefully, we’re advertising for a certified assessor to fill our position. I hope the search isn’t over with.
“Nick said to me he’s not looking for a job,” Riggi added. “He said he made it clear to the mayor he’s not looking for a full-time job. He wants the flexibility he has right now. He’s 67; he’s my age.”
During the controversy over Watefield’s appointment, Riggi said he was more concerned with McCarthy’s proposed salary increase for the position than with Waterfield himself. While Dimitriadis had been paid $73,000 annually, McCarthy had sought to give the position a salary bump to $81,828.
“That’s what we have control over,” Riggi said, referring to the City Council’s power over the purse strings. “We don’t have control over his appointments.”