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A Message from the President
Christine FuscoChristine Fusco
President,
New York State Assessors' Association
2010 - 2011

 

 

 

 

INAUGURAL SPEECH

Good evening, everyone . . .

I stand before you tonight humbled and honored to serve as President of the New York State Assessors’ Association. Over the years I have taken so much from this Association, and now I have the opportunity to give something back.

I look around this room and see the faces of my mentors, my teachers, my colleagues, and my friends. Up here with me is a very dedicated group of individuals that have worked very diligently this past year, under the direction of President Jenkins, to keep our Association on track during these trying economic and political times. President Jenkins proved herself to be a true leader and for that we are all grateful.

Since ORPS has merged with the Department of Taxation and Finance, it is very evident that this merger will have a dramatic effect on us. We are now faced with the “challenge of the unknown.” Who will we be working with at the state level? The State Board is all but a memory. On the political front, we will be faced with a new Governor and new Legislators focused on dealing with tough economic decisions. Will they listen to our concerns? We need to continue to focus on the role we play as the taxpayer’s advocate for fair distribution of the real property tax, a tax that is at the very heart of the troubled state we are in, and make sure our voices are heard.

As your president, I will do my best to encourage an open, working relationship with the “new” Office of Real Property Tax Services and the Department of Taxation and Finance. We have said goodbye to many of our old friends who took with them years of knowledge and cooperation. We embark on a journey of the unknown, but we need to remain positive that change can sometimes be a good thing.

Here with me tonight is my Supervisor, Scott Bylewski, and his wife, Becky. Three years ago the Town of Clarence lost their assessor and a very dear friend of ours, Dave Folger, and gave me the opportunity to continue my career as an assessor. This has been a very positive change in my life, and I will use that positive energy to face the challenges that lie ahead. As we listened to ORPTS at our session yesterday, it was clear that they are also facing a challenging time. Hopefully, we will find a common ground and be able to build a cooperative working relationship.

Also with me tonight is my husband, Frank, and yes, he does exist. We have been married for 38 years, and I can’t thank him enough for his love and support. Unfortunately, our two daughters couldn’t be here tonight. They are both teachers and were unable to travel the distance. They will attend next year along with the rest of my family when we travel to Buffalo for our 2011 conference. I do hope all of you plan on attending.

When we were getting ready for tonight, my husband called me over to the window to see the gift he had ordered for me. It was that beautiful double rainbow that we all watched in amazement and I couldn’t help but think that this was a positive sign of good things to come. It was a sign from those who went before us to pave the way and what a perfect way to start the year for our “challenge of the unknown.”