NORTH SMITHFIELD – When Allan Booth first came to North Smithfield to work in the tax assessor’s office in 2014, it was not under the best of circumstances.
Booth, the CEO of of Wimborne & Summertree, LLC, was hired to help the department after prior assessor Tammy Boss was placed on administrative leave – following the unusual announcement $780,000 in tax abatements.
His declaration at the time was that the office was not functioning properly. And Boss, the assessment and appraisal expert said, was unqualified for the position.
Fortunately, it seems that Booth, who served as assessor in Newport for more than 30 years, discovered a far better situation when he was asked to return to North Smithfield in 2021.
“The difference this time was dramatic,” he said in a letter to Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski last week.
With the role of tax assessor vacant since the resignation of Michelle Mariani in November, Zwolenski hired Booth to evaluate the office to determine if Deputy Assessor Jennifer St. George was qualified, and able to run the office.
“I requested him to come in and to assess the tax assessor’s job and give me a report on the skill set,” Zwolenski said.
Records show the town paid Wimborne & Summertree $900 for the service of “interim assessor,” between Feb. 1 and Feb. 17.
Booth had kind words for St. George, who has served as deputy assessor in North Smithfield since 2019, when she was hired by former Administrator Gary Ezovski.
“In 2014 the office was disorganized; files were missing and numerous taxpayers were frustrated with the lack of response from the assessor’s office,” wrote Booth. “This time, everything was in order, no responses were pending, and all required timeline events had been completed.”
“The condition I found the office this time is entirely due to the efficiency of Jennifer St. George,” said Booth.
Booth recommended St. George, noting she is, “performing as well as any deputy assessor I have had the pleasure to work with.”
“Jennifer has shown excellent knowledge of the assessor’s office and the ability to perform all tasks and functions the assessor must conform to,” he said, adding that he’ll be available if she needs assistance even after his contract in North Smithfield expires.
He noted that St. George should complete all qualifications that the Rhode Island Association of Assessing Officers requires to obtain the RICA designation.
Zwolenski appointed St. George, a Coventry resident, to the position this week following Booth’s positive recommendation.
“She’s doing a good job,” he said.