Nassau County Assessor David Moog, who oversaw a major overhaul of the county's property tax system, will leave his post for health reasons and take on a new advisory role in the county budget office, officials announced Tuesday.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has appointed Robin Laveman, chairperson of the county Assessment Review Commission, which decides property assessment challenges, to replace Moog.
"Ms. Laveman is extremely qualified to take on this new role, having overhauled the Assessment Review Commission’s outdated operations and streamlining processes and procedures," said Curran, a Democrat.
Majority Republicans who last year called for Moog's resignation because of what they characterized as shortcomings in the reassessment process questioned Laveman's qualifications for the assessor's job.
Republicans said Laveman lacks certification from the International Institute of Assessing Officers.
Curran administration officials said Laveman is taking classes to gain the certification.
"She's not an assessor. She's not certified and she has been an administrator in ARC, which is a political position," Presiding Officer Legis. Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said.
"Before that she was an attorney in private practice. She simply does not have the qualifications currently to serve as an assessor," Nicolello said.
Republicans also renewed calls for creation of an elected county assessor's position. They have proposed a referendum for county voters to decide whether to change the electoral system.
Minority Democrats are opposed to the elected assessor's position.
"This warmed-over, cynical proposal is as flawed as it was when the Republican Majority introduced it two years ago," said William Biamonte, chief of staff to the Democratic caucus. "The Minority continues to oppose this misguided approach, which will create new layers of partisanship … "
Said Nicolello: "What the county executive is saying is that the people don't have the right to pick someone who is not an assessor but she does."
Asked for a response to Republicans' comments about Laveman's qualifications, Curran spokeswoman Christine Geed said in a statement: "While the County Executive is focused on distributing vaccines to protect residents and bring our businesses back, the Republican Majority is focused on playing politics with Assessment."
Laveman's appointment needs approval by the Republican-controlled legislature.
Laveman, 59, of Syosset, has chaired the ARC since January 2015. She was hired as a Nassau County the year before, and before that she worked as a litigator in private practice. Laveman holds a bachelor's degree in management from Binghamton University and a law degree from Hofstra University.
Moog, 57, of Sunnyside, Queens was hired in June 2018 at an annual salary of $165,000. Moog had worked previously as a senior analyst and negotiator for District Council 37, New York City’s largest public employee union. He is a former president of the New York City Assessors, Appraisers and Housing Development Specialists, Local 1757.
Moog holds a bachelor's from New York University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from CUNY Baruch College. He is certified by the Institute of Assessing Officers, part of the New York State Assessors’ Association.
The Curran administration has conducted the largest reassessment in a decade. She said the program will help bring equity to a broken assessment system that rewarded property owners who challenged their values, and imposed an unfair tax burden on those who didn’t.
Legislators are expected to discuss Laveman's appointment in committee meetings next month.
Newsday reported in July 2018 that Laveman had won at least five challenges to the assessment on her home in Oyster Bay Cove, saving thousands of dollars in property taxes.