October 28, 2021

Chester Selectmen Hire Interim Assessor

CHESTER— The board of selectmen has hired Michael Bekech, a 12-year assessor in Waterford, as the town’s part-time interim tax assessor at least through the end of June.

The board voted unanimously to hire Bekech at a meeting earlier this year. He is expected to work in Chester about seven hours per week at a rate of $45 per hour.

While there was unanimity on the selection of an interim assessor, the board was divided last month over the non-appointment, or dismissal, of Patricia Stevenson, a Killingworth resident who had worked as the assessor in Chester for the past decade. Selectmen acted on a 2-1 vote, with Democratic Selectman Lawrence Sypher favoring a reappointment of Stevenson, with Independent First Selectman Tom Marsh and Republican Selectman Tom Englert opposed.

Town attorney John Bennet had determined the assessor job was an appointed position with a four-year term, though the board had not acted on an appointment for the position since 2005. Marsh has said he is seeking cost-savings in the assessor’s office that could include sharing a part-time assessor with another town.

Stevenson maintains she has been a member of the town employees union local , Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal employees (AFSCME), regardless of appointment or reappointment. The union is expected to file a contract grievance over the board’s action on Stevenson.