NASHUA — After eliminating the city’s chief assessor position following an audit that revealed ineffective management and other deficiencies, Mayor Jim Donchess announced this week that he has hired an acting administrative services director.
Kim Kleiner, the mayor’s chief of staff, has been selected as the acting director — a role that has now been added to direct the operations of the assessing department and other divisions in the city.
“Kleiner is currently working with the assessing staff and other departments to implement changes with the assessing department, as identified by the management audit,” Donchess said in a statement, adding Kleiner is in the best position to assume the role of acting administrative services director.
The new position was previously used at city hall for about 30 years, however it was eventually phased out and the chief assessor role was implemented.
By reinstituting the administrative services director role, Kleiner will be planning and directing the operations of a new division to include assessing, human resources, information technology, purchasing and risk management, according to Donchess.
As the mayor’s chief of staff, Donchess said Kleiner already has a deep understanding of those departments.
“Bringing back the administrative services director and division will more effectively align city hall operations, boosting the overall success of Nashua’s city government,” Donchess said in a news release.
The assessing division has been under scrutiny in recent months, prompting the mayor to issue an internal audit that highlighted several problems, including ineffective management and a lack of internal policies, among other issues.
The audit of the assessing department was ordered last fall following citizen complaints and concerns, specifically surrounding allegations that the city’s assessing records do not appropriately capture new building work and home upgrades in a timely manner, that practices and policies are not in place and that some properties are significantly undervalued despite permits for large home projects.
Since that time, Donchess said there have been 190 residential abatement requests following the recent citywide revaluation process. Some abatements are being granted and others are being denied by the Board of Assessors, he told the Board of Aldermen.
The mayor recently met with the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration’s commissioner and her staff.
“She has said that Nashua is in compliance with all of their requirements right now,” said Donchess, adding the city will continue to work with the agency to make sure the assessing process is working well.