Both candidates for the upcoming vacancy on the Board of Assessors were moved to seek the position by civic spirit.
Joseph Gilbert and Elliot Lovy told the League of Women Voters candidate forum Sunday that they decided to run because they noticed that there were no candidates.
One of them will succeed retiring Assessor Ronald Cordes on the board after the March 13 town election, joining Rebecca Neale, who was elected a year ago, and veteran Bruce Murphy.
Neither candidate has attended a virtual meeting of the board, and both recognize that they will need a state-mandated training course early in their term.
“We have been on the receiving end of a lot of hard work that goes on in this community. Reading about this opening, I thought this is my time to step up and give back,” said Lovy, a software developer and “statistics guy.”
Gilbert said he also noticed the opportunity. He cited his background and education in real estate and finance and noted, “It is going to be a very important and interesting year.”
The Select Board recently voted against a motion to change the town charter and bylaws which would have made assessor an appointed rather than an elected position. Gilbert and Lovy each endorsed that decision. “Independence is integral” to the position, Gilbert said. Lovy commented, “I came to understand that this position is about curating and governing data, building transparency and trust.”
Each candidate acknowledged that there’s a lot to learn. Gilbert said he has questions about how frequently taxpayers request abatements, how and when the board makes those determinations, and how soon the town expects to hire a full-time professional assessor. Lovy said he will need information about management of the property database, “mechanics of the meetings,” and the board’s role with the Select Board, as well as the abatement process.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-983-1763