Ousted assessor seeks to void Evans-Cheektowaga agreement - The Buffalo News

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Ousted assessor seeks to void Evans-Cheektowaga agreement

Citing violations of municipal and labor laws, the former assessor for the Town of Evans wants a court to throw out the town’s new shared services agreement with Cheektowaga under which she lost the job.

Former Evans assessor Jeanne Ebersole filed a complaint against the Town of Evans, the Town Board and its three individual members in late September.

The parties are scheduled to appear today before State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski.

“Based on our review of all of the factors and contracts that are touched upon by these actions, there’s actually not any savings to the Town of Evans,” said attorney Andrew P. Fleming, who is representing Ebersole. “It looks more like there will actually be increased expenses.”

Meanwhile, Evans Town Attorney Grant Zajas said: “We believe that the action of the town, of course, is entirely proper and in the best interest of the residents.”

Ebersole, appointed interim Evans assessor in 2005 and then to a full six-year term in October 2007, lost her job after the Evans Town Board voted 2 to 1 in favor of a shared services agreement with the Town of Cheektowaga.

The agreement took effect Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30, 2019.

The job went to Jeneen Lomando-McSkimming, an Evans resident who had been serving Cheektowaga part-time under a shared services agreement with the Town of Boston, where her term as sole assessor expired Sept. 30.

From Cheektowaga, Lomando-McSkimming will receive an annual salary of about $50,000, plus $20,000 in benefits.

The Town of Evans will pay Cheektowaga $50,520 a year, in quarterly installments, some of which will go toward Lomando-McSkimming’s salary.

Ebersole had been paid $57,140 annually as the assessor in Evans, where she worked four days a week. She also received $6,000 of the $26,000 that Evans received annually under a shared assessor agreement with the Town of North Collins, for which she worked one day a week.

The complaint notes the differences in pay and other terms of the contract with Cheektowaga – which couldn’t be verified independently Wednesday – as well as the loss of income to the Town of Evans and additional expenses the town faces for services not covered by the agreement.

The complaint also notes that Ebersole holds advanced state certification and alleges that Lomando-McSkimming has no experience in valuation.

But Ebersole’s job performance had been criticized by Evans Taxpayers United, which said she showed favoritism to political allies, friends and family. And the head of a local builders association said he found inequities in assessments while investigating investment opportunities in Evans.

Ebersole’s complaint also alleges that nepotism and favoritism played roles in the appointment of Lomando-McSkimming.

Lomando-McSkimming is the daughter of former Evans assessor Sam Lomando Jr., a member of the taxpayer group that criticized Ebersole and vice chairman of the town’s Conservative Committee.

The committee endorsed Councilman Dennis Feldmann, who voted in favor of the agreement with Cheektowaga.

Finally, Ebersole claims that Town Supervisor Keith Dash’s vote for the agreement was retaliation for her refusal to circulate petitions for and support his election campaign, in violation of labor law.

email: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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