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Gouverneur settles with Raymo

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GOUVERNEUR — The Town Council has settled with Dale L. Raymo for $140,000 and his immediate resignation as assessor.

Mr. Raymo was fired in July 2010 after hearing officer Frederick S. Morrill determined that his poor public relations led to an inability to justify his assessments, which had angered property owners.

Mr. Raymo sued and a court-appointed referee reversed the decision. State Supreme Court Judge David R. Demarest instructed the town in April it had to reinstate Mr. Raymo and pay him his salary.

The settlement represents pay of about $98,000, some of Mr. Raymo’s court costs and any other claims he might have made. If the town had not approved an agreement by June 23, Mr. Raymo had planned to go to federal court.

“This is a lump sum settlement of all potential claims, whether the claims include violation of his civil rights or whatever,” said Mr. Raymo’s attorney, Robert J. Slye, Watertown. “I think it’s fair.”

Mr. Raymo did not return a call for comment.

Town Supervisor Robert R. Ritchie said that the town acted on the advice of its attorney but that he was glad to put the dispute behind him.

While Mr. Raymo’s status remained unsettled, the town used village employee Barbara A. Finnie as its interim assessor. She likely will keep that post for another year, Mr. Ritchie said. The town, which has an equalization rate of 95 percent, intends to conduct a revaluation in 2014.

It was a partial revaluation that drew wide criticism from farmers and other rural residents in 2009 that led to Mr. Raymo’s demise. After a series of meetings in which the board was confronted by property owners, the council suspended Mr. Raymo as assessor and fired him as code enforcement officer.

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