GREENFIELD – Two candidates are vying for one four-year term on the Board of Assessors: Charles “Chuck” Green and David Rolston.
The candidate with the most votes will fill the vacancy left by incumbent Joe Ruggeri, who is not seeking re-election.
The general election will be held on Tuesday, November 7, in the Greenfield High School gymnasium. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m
After early retirement from his role as a research engineer at General Motors in Detroit, the 54-year-old Green moved to Greenfield. He currently works part-time on an ongoing research project at MIT.
“Because of the way I work, I don’t wait for others to help me with problems,” Green said. “As a systems engineer, you can’t be successful that way; No one will come to you with your problems. “You have to see what is happening…that no one else can see.”
His background in research and analysis are two skills he said would be relevant if he is elected to serve on the Board of Residents.
“I was never involved in politics,” Green said. “But I read (the Greenfield Recorder) and I have friends here. I read the other day that the president of the Board of Assessors was going around talking about these city permits, which was going to cause his property taxes to go up. … This is kind of a small town, but it’s not two guys and a house.” “This kind of thing… shouldn’t happen. It bothered me.”
Green was referring to concerns raised late last year about the credibility of Ruggieri, who failed to obtain the necessary permits for properties he owned. In November, he was issued a $300 fine for occupying a building without a certificate of occupancy, continuing construction without proper inspections, and starting work without applying for and obtaining a building permit.
Green said that with encouragement from others, he decided to throw his hat in the ring. He reviewed preparations for the property tax data for the year 2022, which raised some questions for him about how to evaluate real estate. Green said the city first needs to “know what you’re dealing with” before deciding how to address what he believes demonstrates inequity in the assessment process.
“You can find ways to make things better without having to cut corners, without having to rob Peter to pay Paul,” Green said. “I’m glad I took this on. I feel like I might actually be able to help people. … I don’t like to see injustice done to anyone.”
Rolston, 70, said his background in law and ability to deal with “charged” situations qualifies him to serve in the House of Councilors if elected.
“There seems to be an impression that there are disparities in different property valuations between high-end and low-end properties,” he said. “Chuck Green has mentioned it and so have many others. Clearly this needs to be corrected.”
Rolston said he would advocate contracting out services to a private entity. He noted that although the board does not necessarily have control over these types of decisions, it can serve as a platform to ensure that management knows what it considers to be the best path forward.
“Unfortunately, in part-time government positions like this, we tend to only see the system on a case-by-case basis,” he added. “You can just see the footage. I think doing some sort of comprehensive review would be an excellent starting point.”
Although he works less now, Rolston has had a private practice on Osgood Street since 1989. He has experience representing individuals in foreclosure cases, and said that “sometimes they get a life of their own; A life of their own.” They move relentlessly without much thought.
“One of the things I’ve been doing as a lawyer is getting the human factor involved in all these supposedly irresolvable legal issues and … making sure the damage is minimized, if not avoided entirely,” Rolston said.
Rolston has served on several local boards, including the Franklin County Bar Association, the Franklin Survival Center, and the Grapevine on Chapman Street.
“I have a lot of time and I thought the behavior of the former councilman, who tried to evade business permits and build illegal apartments, was shocking,” Rolston said, also referring to Ruggeri. “Are you thinking about what you can do now that will be beneficial to your community and what skills do you have to make that happen? … This is my community and I just want to help.”