Prospect assessor calls it a career

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Vincent Leone retired June 29 as Prospect’s assessor after 20 years in the position. –RA ARCHIVE

PROSPECT — Assessor Vincent Leone has enjoyed every bit of his job here, or he wouldn’t have stayed as long as he has.

Leone, 70, of Waterbury, retired June 29.

“It’s just time,” said Leone about his retirement.

Leone has served in the Prospect position for nearly 20 years. He started in August 1993 after he worked 30 years for Waterbury, about five years as a draftsmen in engineering and then about 25 years as an appraiser in the assessor’s office.

Leone said he wanted the assessor’s job in Prospect because he thought it would be more interesting and challenging.

Leone said he doesn’t yet know how he will spend his retirement, but he does have two grandchildren, Brandon Austin, 14 and Michael Austin, 12, both of Waterbury. They have a lot of sports activities, he said.

“I keep busy with them even now,” Leone said.

Leone said he likes gardening, but he is restricted due to health problems. Still, he might try to do a little bit of that, he said.

Generally a quiet person, Leone said he will miss the everyday functions of the office and the people. He couldn’t name anything he didn’t enjoy about the job.

“I wouldn’t be here that long if I didn’t,” Leone said. “I enjoy the field very much.”

Leone said in his years here, the laws have changed and continue to do so.

“Every year you get new laws, and you got to always keep up on them,” Leone said. “What was good yesterday isn’t good today.”

Mayor Robert Chatfield said Leone has brought experience to the office, and called him a dedicated employee.

A highlight of Leone’s 20-year career here was in 2011, Chatfield recounted.

He said the town put money into the assessor’s office for Leone to pursue a business that he believed owed back taxes. Leone hired an accountant, and with that person’s assistance, he managed to get $142,000 in back taxes, including interest and fees, from a business that Chatfield declined to name.

The assessor’s position is appointed by the mayor, per town charter. Chatfield appointed James Clynes of Southington to the position last week.

Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield, left, congratulates the town's new Assessor James Clynes, of Southington. –CONTRIBUTED

According to his resume, Clynes was the assessor for New Fairfield from 1977 until 1981, the assessor for Cheshire from 1981 until 1988. Prior to taking the job in Prospect, Clynes was the chief assessor for Hamden. He will retire from Hamden before starting work in Prospect.

In 1990, Clynes won the Connecticut Association of Assessing Officers’ Assessor of the Year award. He was the CAAO president in 2004 and currently serves on the association’s executive board.

Chatfield pointed out that Clynes has worked in Prospect before. When Leone was out sick for six weeks in the late 1990s, Clynes, along with another assessor, covered for him in Prospect.

Chatfield said was hired because of his impressive resume and for the fact that he was so involved with the CAAO.

“He’s very well known around the state for being president of the [CAAO],” Chatfield said.

The position is part time, 18 hours a week. Chatfield said it will remain part time, with 18 to 20 hours a week.

Under the current budget, the assessor is paid $38,942. Next year’s budget has the position earning $39,915.

Luke Marshall contributed to this article.