Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. There shall be in the city of New Bedford an administrative assistant to the board of assessors who shall have charge and control of the assessing department.
A. Appointment; Term; Qualification.
The administrative assistant shall be a resident of the city of New Bedford, appointed by the mayor, with the approval of the city council, for a term of five years. Said assistant shall have a bachelor's degree from an accredited four year college or university with major course work in accounting, finance, business or public administration, economics, statistics, real estate, computer science, engineering or mathematics and not less than five years of paid, full-time experience in the public or private sector where the primary task involved the assessment or appraisal of real property, two years of which were in mass appraisal or assessment administration; provided, however, that possession of any one or more of the following certificates or memberships may be substituted for the bachelor's degree requirement: (1) Certified Massachusetts Assessor, (2) Certified Appraisal Evaluation, (3) Designated member of Society of Real Estate Appraisers, (4) Designated member of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers, or any other professional designations which qualify a candidate to perform the duties of administrative assistant. The provisions of this subsection may be waived by the mayor, with the approval of a two-thirds vote of the city council, if the mayor determines that there is no reasonable expectations that qualified persons will be able and willing to accept appointment as administrative assistant; provided, however, that a waiver granted pursuant to this subsection must be renewed annually. If such waiver is not presented to the city council by the first regularly scheduled meeting of the city council in April, then such administrative assistant shall cease to hold office. The waiver provided for herein shall be granted for not more than three consecutive times as to each person.
B. Assistants and Employees; Compensation.
All assistants and other employees deemed necessary to carry out the work of the assessing department shall be appointed by the administrative assistant and in accordance with the provisions of chapter thirty-one of the General Laws. Each member of the department, including the administrative assistant, shall devote a full business day to the duties of the department. The mayor shall fix the compensation for the administrative assistant and such employees, subject to the approval of the city council.
C. Duties and Responsibilities.
The administrative assistant shall have all the powers and perform the duties of assessors of cities in accordance and in compliance with the General Laws, except as otherwise provided herein, and in addition shall:
1) Coordinate, administer, and supervise all non-elected employees in the assessing department in the provision of all services and activities of such department.
2) Establish full and fair cash valuations and classifications of all property, real and personal, on an annual basis in conformity with the General Laws relating thereto.
3) Provide for the custody, control, confidentiality, and security of all documents, materials, records, or information, in whatever form, of the assessing department, including without limitation the records of the board of assessors.
4) Review every application for abatement or exemption of taxes and excises. The administrative assistant shall submit his recommendation in writing to the board of assessors for action thereon. Said board may grant or deny the abatement as recommended, or substitute another amount. If an application for abatement or exemption is not granted or denied as provided for above prior to the expiration of three months from the date of filing such application, it shall be deemed to be denied for all purposes including those of section sixty-four of chapter fifty-nine of the General Laws.
5) Possess exclusive authority, subject to all general or special laws or local ordinances relating thereto, to initiate, negotiate and execute on behalf of the assessing department all contracts for goods and services relating to the assessing function of the city.
6) Conduct investigations and studies on all matters relating to the valuation, assessment, abatement and exemption of properties.
7) Make reports and recommendations to the board of assessors, mayor and city council concerning valuation, assessment, abatement and exemption policies to promote economy and efficiency in assessment administration.
8) Represent the city before judicial and administrative bodies on all matters related to the administration and enforcement of the duties and responsibilities of the assessing department.
9) Develop, implement and maintain uniform systems, controls and procedures, consistent with local ordinances and regulations or policies prescribed by the financial officers of the city, for all financial activities of the assessing department.
10) Develop and prepare a detailed, annual budget and spending plan for the assessing department.
11) Make rules with the approval of the city council and the mayor for the administration of the provisions contained in this section.
12) Possess such other powers and duties as the mayor and city council may, from time to time, direct.
SECTION 2. The assessing department shall remain open to the public Monday through Friday during normal business hours excepting legal holidays.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon its passage.