Norwalk Tax Assessor Michael Stewart and Assistant Tax Assessor William O’Brien have resigned from those posts, allowing Mayor Harry Rilling to, in his words, “transform the Assessor’s office.”
“I typically do not comment on personnel matters,” Rilling said. “However, I felt it was important to let the public know this department is heading in a new direction. These changes provide me with the unique opportunity to transform the Assessor’s office. This department will be more responsive to the public going forward through improved customer service and communication.”
The resignations follow a period of unusually high disputes over property revaluations in Norwalk. The 2019-20 operating budget reported 400 open lawsuits against the city in 2018-19, based upon those property assessments.
Rilling said the timing of the resignations was fortuitous, as the city’s 2018 Grand List has been finalized for the Fiscal Year 2019-20 Operating Budget and the subsequent reporting of the Grand List has been submitted to the state Office of Policy and Management.
A national search is underway to fill the two positions, the mayor added. Norwalk’s Chief Financial Officer Henry Dachowitz will be handling the day-to-day operations of the department until those posts are filled.