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Norwalk has a new tax assessor, or almost

A meeting of the Common Council’s BET Meeting, where Paul Gorman has participated this budget cycle as Interim Tax Assessor.

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The city of Norwalk could soon have an official, full-time Tax Assessor. The appointment would fill a post that has been vacant for the last 14 months, since the last Tax Assessor departed following several years of tumult in the assessor’s office. 

Paul Gorman, who has been serving as the city’s interim tax assessor, says Norwalk has already chosen a new Tax Assessor, and it’s him. Gorman told the Finance and Claims Committee of the Common Council last week that he had been promoted to that position.

After being introduced to the committee as interim assessor, at a meeting on May 16, Gorman said: “Good evening everybody. Just one correction: I’ve actually now been promoted to actual full assessor. The change took place about two weeks ago yesterday.”

Gorman’s announcement, however, was news to the committee. It was also premature, according to Norwalk’s Director of Communications Michelle Woods Matthews.

“Paul has been offered the position [of tax assessor] and the appointment is subject to the Common Council’s approval,” she responded to an email query requesting confirmation of Gorman’s announcement.

Gorman’s appointment may be confirmed at the next Common Council meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28 at 7:30 p.m. That’s not certain, however. The official meeting agenda has yet to be released.

Gorman, a former Westport analyst inspector, was hired as a Norwalk deputy assessor in April 2022, taking on duties that included managing commercial real estate property inspections and valuations. He became the interim tax assessor in March 2023 after the departure of William Ford, who had been the assessor since January 2020.

Life has not been tranquil at the Norwalk Tax Assessor’s Office since well before Gorman arrived. It had come under fire multiple times, both during Ford’s tenure and prior to his arrival. 

In 2018, Norwalk undertook a property revaluation, which resulted in more than 400 appeals filed by residents and businesses against the property value assessments that were determined by Tyler Technologies. Following the revaluation, both Norwalk Tax Assessor Michael Stewart and Assistant Tax Assessor William O’Brien resigned in July 2019. 

It took the city until January 2020 to bring Ford on as a full-time assessor. As many people who work in the industry have noted, it’s difficult to find assessors in Connecticut. 

In 2022, an efficiency study conducted by the city and the Board of Education portrayed the Tax Assessor’s Office as one “lacking in sufficient supervision and expertise.” The study cited numerous issues including personnel shortages, incompatible software, and remote working arrangements for multiple staff members that included Ford himself, who had reportedly been working from Vermont for a large part of his tenure. 

Comments

2 responses to “Norwalk has a new tax assessor, or almost”

  1. Bob Giolitto

    Hmm. Has anyone seen Alexander Haig around? If the efficiency study cited “portrayed the Tax Assessor’s Office as one “ ‘lacking in sufficient supervision and expertise.’ The study cited numerous issues including personnel shortages, incompatible software, and remote working arrangements for multiple staff members…” why is the city promoting someone within that system? It may well be difficult to find assessors within the state, but it’s irresponsible to simply give up the search.

  2. Bryan Meek

    What a joke. Everyone at 125 knows the Council is a meaningless rubber stamp.

    Decisions are made in the dark and the CC meetings are purely a dog and pony show.

    Good luck to the new Assessor. Maybe he can explain how the mall is worth half of what it cost to build just 5 years ago? Or maybe someday we’ll learn what those 400 botched 2018 revals cost us and how much of that is driving the disproportionate increase in property taxes this year instead of the lame excuses being pushed.

    The tax bills are coming out soon and they won’t be able to lie to us forever. The reality is surrounding towns aren’t facing anything near what we are because of the screwups from 2018 that have been kept in the dark.

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