Joseph Adamo has been hired as acting assessor for Nassau...

Joseph Adamo has been hired as acting assessor for Nassau County, filling a position that has been vacant for the past six months. Credit: Nassau County

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman has found a new acting assessor in a real estate professional who has managed tax certiorari cases for a Manhattan law firm.

Joseph A. Adamo, of Sayville, started the job Jan. 2 at an annual salary of $140,000. He becomes the fourth person to run the county's embattled Department of Assessment.

Adamo, 47, has been a licensed real estate agent since 1998, according to a resume he submitted to the county. For the past decade he worked as a manager and tax certiorari coordinator for Brandt, Steinberg, Lewis & Blond LLP, where he filed property tax grievances and negotiated residential tax proceedings in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Before that he was office manager and senior paralegal at Uniondale property tax firm Cronin, Cronin, Harris & O'Brien. He earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from SUNY Old Westbury, according to his resume. 

Adamo fills a post that has been vacant for six months after the last acting assessor, Matthew Cronin, was not promoted to the permanent job. Cronin, appointed by Blakeman in May 2022, left in June 2023 to become director of asset management for Suffolk County.

Nassau has not had a permanent assessor since 2021, when David Moog resigned for health reasons. 

An assessor may serve as "acting" for a maximum of six months before the administration must seek legislative approval to keep them permanently, according to county charter. The permanent position is for a term of three years.

Adamo, a registered Democrat, will lead a department of over 100 employees tasked with developing an assessment roll for the county's 425,000 residential and commercial properties that is used to compute school, town and county tax bills.

“Joseph Adamo is a consummate professional with the experience needed to continue my administration’s goal of making Nassau’s Department of Assessment the most fair, accurate, transparent and resident-friendly department in the nation,” Blakeman said in a statement.

The cost of Nassau property taxes — among the highest in the nation — and the issue of fairness in the system are perennial political topics.

Nassau has kept the same property tax levy over the past two years. But by not updating how properties are assessed, the tax burden has shifted from property owners who appeal their assessments to those who do not.

Former County Executive Laura Curran, a Democrat, in 2018 unfroze Nassau's tax rolls and began a controversial reassessment of residential and commercial properties countywide in an attempt to rebalance an outdated system. During an uncertain pandemic real estate market, she paused the program.

The rolls have remained frozen under Blakeman, a Republican who defeated her in November 2021 with a campaign promise to "fix a broken system." 

Democrats, who have not taken a position on whether Blakeman should unfreeze the rolls, expressed concern over the turnover in the assessment department. 

Legis. Debra Mulé (D-Freeport), after reviewing Adamo's resume, questioned whether he had the necessary credentials for the position. 

“This is a huge job that requires serious, qualified people because these are people’s lives that are being impacted and if assessments are incorrect, that is important,” Mulé said. 

Mulé said by hiring assessors who serve in an acting capacity, it "gives the appearance that the Blakeman administration is trying to skirt the law" by avoiding legislative approval. 

Blakeman responded: "After a nationwide search, Mr. Adamo was found to be the most qualified and hopefully his tenure will eventually result in a permanent position."

Blakeman spokesman Christopher Boyle said Adamo will take the necessary courses and pursue the credentials needed to become the permanent assessor. The county requires the person to eventually become a New York State-certified assessor, according to the job posting.

Adamo did not immediately return requests for comment. 

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