MALONE –– The former town assessor has filed a legal challenge to the Town Board’s decision not to reappoint her when her term expired last year.
Amy K. Hewitt, who had been the town assessor since 2012, filed an Article 78 proceeding against the town claiming she was terminated and, as such, was entitled to a hearing under state Civil Service Law. The proceeding asks the state Supreme Court to reinstate her to her position and to order the town to pay her salary and benefits for the time she was out of the job, as well as her legal costs.
Hewitt had been appointed town assessor in 2012 to fill an unexpired term and was reappointed to the post in October of the following year for a six-year term. Hewitt had been the assistant assessor for the four and a half years before her appointment and prior to that, she worked as the town data collector for five years
Prior to the expiration of Hewitt’s term in 2019, the town had solicited applicants for the job, to begin on Oct. 1, according to legal papers filed at the Franklin County Clerk’s Office.
Hewitt applied, but on Sept. 25, the Town Board “terminated Ms. Hewitt’s employment” effective Sept. 30 and appointed a new assessor to begin on Oct. 1, the court documents state.
Hewitt contends that the board could not remove her from the assessor’s post without a hearing.
“Under and by virtue of the laws of the State of New York, including, but not limited to Section 75 of the Civil Service Law, Petitioner cannot be terminated or otherwise disciplined without the rights guaranteed thereunder, including the right to a hearing, the right to be represented by council, the right to cross-examine witnesses, the right to have written charges preferred against her, the right to receive the written report and recommendation of the hearing officer, and the right to have the charges against her proved by Respondents by substantial evidence,” the documents state.
The Town Board’s decision was “not supported by substantial evidence, is arbitrary, capricious and irrational, and contrary to law,” Hewitt’s petition states.
Copies of the petition were distributed to the Town Board Wednesday night.
Hewitt had sought a substantial pay raise in the town’s 2020 budget, but board members rejected that request. The current assessor, James Snyder, was appointed at Hewitt’s 2019 pay rate.
Hewitt could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Town Supervisor Andrea Stewart declined to comment beyond noting that the matter had been turned over to the town’s attorney.