11/03/17 6:00am
11/03/2017 6:00 AM

Tax Assessor
Four-year term; one open seat
Salary: $83,846

Susan Ambro

Hamlet: Wading River

Occupation: Attorney

Party lines: Democratic, Independence, Working Families

About her: Ms. Ambro, 58, is an attorney with the Suffolk County Legal Aid Society, where she represents clients who cannot afford to pay. A graduate of the University of Bridgeport law school, she has been an attorney for 31 years. Ms. Ambro’s husband, Richard, is a state Supreme Court Judge in Suffolk County.

Ms. Ambro did not respond to a questionnaire sent to candidates by the Riverhead News-Review and was not present last Thursday at the only public candidate forum that included the assessor candidates.

In May, when she was nominated to run for assessor, she said, “I’ve been amazed over the years at how nothing has ever come out of the assessors’ office that was ever good for me, and maybe for most of the people who sit here. I think it’s an office that’s overlooked because it’s not the supervisor or the council or maybe because it’s not making policy. But in a way, it is, because it’s dealing with your most important asset — your cold, hard cash.”

She said she feels the assessors’ office lacks accountability.

Laverne Tennenberg

Hamlet: Riverhead

Occupation: Assessor (incumbent)

Party lines: Republican, Conservative

About her: Ms. Tennenberg, 59, is a Riverhead native and graduate of Hofstra University. She holds the NYS designation of professional assessor and is responsible for the valuation of $7 billion in real property. She says she has a comprehensive knowledge of the real property tax law and is proficient in all assessment administration functions. She was first elected in 1989.

Her pitch: Ms. Tennenberg said she strives to educate taxpayers about the property tax system, which can be complex and confusing. Over the years, she said, she’s computerized many assessment functions to increase efficiency in the office. Property tax exemptions are a large part of her work, she said, and all applications are reviewed carefully for eligibility. She recently helped taxpayers in manufactured home communities receive STAR property tax credit checks that were owed to them from 2016, she said.

In her words: “This personal touch has been the hallmark of my tenure with the town, and is what I believe to be the primary function of all public employees … to provide the best service possible.”

11/02/13 2:01pm
11/02/2013 2:01 PM

Laverne Tennenberg and Gregory Fischer are candidates for tax assessor.

TAX ASSESSOR
Four-year term (full time)
Salary: $74,449/$84,047 for chair

Laverne Tennenberg
Incumbent
Hamlet: Riverhead
Occupation: Assessor
Party lines: Republican, Conservative

About her: Ms. Tennenberg, 55, is a Riverhead native and Hofstra University graduate. First elected in 1989, she has served as chair of the town Board of Assessors since 1997. In 1996, she was admitted to the lnstitute of Assessing Officers and was designated a professional assessor. She previously served as president and treasurer of the Suffolk County Assessors’ Association and is treasurer of the New York State Assessors’ Association.

Her pitch: Ms. Tennenberg says her knowledge and experience are crucial to the operation of the office, especially with the Basic STAR registration process currently underway. One of her areas of concentration, she says, is in ensuring that the residences of those living in manufactured home communities are assessed fairly and equitably. She also assists seniors with exemptions, does splits and assemblage of properties and manages the assessment software system, among other duties. She has overseen the computerization of the office.

Her words: “Experience counts and you can count on me to get the job done.”

Gregory Fischer
Challenger
Hamlet: Calverton
Occupation: Business/strategic consultant, patented inventor, advocate/whistle-blower
Party lines: Democrat, Independence

About him: Mr. Fischer, 57, has three business degrees and over three decades’ experience in industry, accounting, economics and planning. His government and civic experience includes work with the Calverton Civic Association, the City of New York and the U.S. Department of Justice. He has filed lawsuits that are in progress and aimed at breaking up the Long Island Power Authority and forcing an election of trustees to run the utility. He describes himself as an “insourcer” that works to create American jobs.

His pitch: Mr. Fischer calls taxes the people’s money and says properties must be assessed fairly, with incoming taxes spent wisely and frugally. He feels this isn’t being done and wants to bring more transparency to the assessor’s office. He says commercial assessments are unjustifiably low, forcing residential taxpayers to subsidize businesses. He also believes the assessor’s office can be used to provide a source for “local stimulus” to benefit town taxpayers.

His words: “I promise to navigate Riverhead toward a better controlled government and proper development.”