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Head assessor to retire.

Byline: Nick Kotsopoulos

WORCESTER - City Assessor Robert J. Allard Jr., a highly respected member of the finance arm of the city administration, is retiring and relocating to California.

Mr. Allard, 59, has been with the city for 15 years and has headed the Assessing Department since 2002, when he was appointed by then City Manager Thomas R. Hoover.

As assessor, he has been responsible for the maintenance and annual revaluation of more than 45,000 real estate and personal property accounts in the city.

During his tenure, he has received much praise for the way he has run the Assessing Department and provided the public with comprehensive information about city property values.

City Manager Michael V. O'Brien said Mr. Allard's departure will create a void in his administration, with the loss of his valued expertise and institutional knowledge regarding local property values and real estate market trends.

"Bob's institutional knowledge and clear understanding of municipal finance and the state Department of Revenue procedures are an incredible asset to the city and he has served our citizens well," Mr. O'Brien said.

Mr. Allard began with the city in 1994 as an assistant assessor and was promoted to deputy assessor in 1996.

He also served as acting chief financial officer for Mr. O'Brien for several months in 2007, between the time John P. Pranckevicius left to go to the Massachusetts Port Authority and the hiring of Thomas F. Zidelis, the current chief financial officer.

According to papers he has filed with the Retirement Board, Mr. Allard's last day with the city will be July 15.

In an interview, he said he started thinking about retirement earlier this year when Mr. O'Brien proposed an early retirement program as part of his fiscal 2010 municipal budget.

Even though the early retirement program may not become a reality because of a roadblock in the Legislature, Mr. Allard said he decided to file his retirement papers anyway. He said New England's sometimes harsh winters were a factor in his deciding to leave the area.

"After this past winter, we just felt it was time to move," Mr. Allard said.

Just who will succeed Mr. Allard is very much up in the air because there is no clear line of succession in the Assessing Department. The office has been without a deputy assessor since Mr. Allard held that job and was promoted to assessor in 2002.

Because of budget constraints, Mr. O'Brien said, one of the changes made to the administrative organization of many smaller departments in recent years has been the elimination of their "number two" positions. He said that has made it increasingly difficult to fill the top spots in those departments when vacancies occur. Someone from outside the city will likely be hired, he said.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:May 7, 2009
Words:461
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