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Allegheny County severs ties with property assessment official

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Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, 4:41 p.m.
 

Allegheny County on Friday fired its manager of property assessments, the latest move in Executive Rich Fitzgerald's shakeup of county government.

Assessments Manager Michael J. Suley, 63, became at least the 11th high-ranking county official to be let go since Fitzgerald took office in January.

“There was a desire to see a change in the leadership and direction of that office,” county spokeswoman Amie Downs said. “As we have said numerous times in the past, there is a top-to-bottom review of the county departments and offices.”

Suley could not be reached. Downs wouldn't say why Fitzgerald sought new leadership in the assessments office.

Suley became the second high-ranking county official to be fired in 10 days. Fitzgerald fired Public Works Director Joe Olczak on Oct. 31, replacing him with Deputy Director Phil LaMay.

Although the controversial countywide reassessment has been a high-profile issue, Suley kept a low profile. He rarely spoke or asked questions during reassessment status conferences before Common Pleas Senior Judge R. Stanton Wettick. The conferences played a critical role in plotting out the reassessment process, which was completed this year.

The county awarded a $9.3 million contract to a Texas firm to perform the reassessment. Appeals still are being accepted.

Downs said Suley handled the office's administrative duties, from scheduling assessment appeal hearings to overseeing the public information phone line.

Suley worked two tours with the county, first as a member of the assessment board from July 1997 to December 2000. He had been manager of the assessments office since April 2006. He made $85,000 a year, Downs said.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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