Working as an assessor is not a job often filled with praise, but Randall Holcomb, assessor for a large portion of Chautauqua County, was recently presented with an award for his work in the field.
Holcomb, who recently completed his term as president of the New York State Assessors Association and is currently serving his final year as past president, was awarded the Robert Osias Professionalism Award in October.
"Even though I've been serving as the president of the NYSAA, I received this award for my 35 years that I've worked as an assessor," said Holcomb.
The Robert Osias Professionalism Award is presented to those individual members of the NYSAA actively serving as assessors and who have held their office for at least nine consecutive years, serving with diligence, integrity and a quiet professional competence that has won the approbation of their peers, the municipality that they serve and reflects credit upon the entire profession. Recommendations for this award rest with the local county assessors associations and must be signed by both the president and secretary of these associations reflecting the favorable action of the county organization as a whole.
NYSAA is a 1,000-member organization, and the award that Holcomb received is voted on by all of the members of the group.
Compared to most, Holcomb got an early start in his career with the assessor's office.
"I started when I was in 11th grade as the assessor's clerk in the town of Busti, and I worked my way through both high school and college until I was appointed to be the assessor for the town at 22-years-old," said Holcomb. "I've been the assessor for 30 years there, now. Over the past 20 years, we've merged the city of Jamestown and eight other towns together, so now we're covering more than half the county."
According to Holcomb, one of the keys to the enjoyment for him in his career is the group of people with whom he works.
"There are 10 of us working in the office, and we all like each other," said Holcomb. "That's not something that you find in a lot of places, so it's good."
When asked about what type of education and demeanor helps with his line of work, Holcomb said that a business background can be extremely beneficial, along with a love for both numbers and people.
"You want to get into financial services or some kind of public service in college since you'll be dealing with people every day," said Holcomb. "It's a lot of real estate, too. We have to measure and value every single house. There used to be a time that we could go into the houses to inspect them, but after 9/11 that pretty much ended. Now we've been trained to grade a house from the exterior, and we assume that the inside is the same grade as the outside."
Holcomb is proud of the work that he's done in his time as an assessor and feels that his office is positively representing the line of work.
"I like to feel that we have a good service," said Holcomb. "When we do reassessments, we see people on a different level, but hopefully we're respectful. I've seen it in different areas where that hasn't necessarily happened, but I'm proud that we've changed that idea."