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GPWoods Truth: 3 assessors in 3 years?

Who's NO. 3? Farms' resident Scott T. Vandemergel

By Pete Waldmeir

    Scott T. Vandemergel, 42, a Grosse Pointe Farms resident and one-time assessor in St. Clair Shores, is slated to take over the vitally important assignment as Grosse Pointe Woods' third assessor in three years on Nov. 29.

     Vandemergel's hiring quietly was approved by the Woods' council earlier this month. He replaces Ginger Soles, who left the job more than a month ago, but remains listed as the assessor on the city's website. No salary or benefits were announced.

     Comparable jobs in this area range from $65,000 to $85,000 for a Level 4 assessor. Kathleen Paul, the part-time assessor who preceded Soles, was paid $63,481 at $43.78 an hour in 2010. Paul's contract also called for medical, dental and vision coverage, plus a $5,000 annual contribution to her Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

      Vandemergel spent most of his career in St. Clair Shores before resigning in May, 2011, citing "personal reasons." Later it was theorized that he quit St. Clair Shores because the council there was looking for "a less expensive" Level 3 assessor, which happened to be Vandemergel's assistant.

        Four months later, in September 2011, Vandemergel applied for, was interviewed and indicated that he would accept the assessor's position in Bay City, MI. But before he was hired, he told the Bay City Commission that he had changed his mind and turned them down, sending them scurryng to jump-start their selection process again.

       According to some printed articles, Vandemergel is a "history buff" who as a member of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society has served as a tour guide for groups who want to learn more about the area's historical background.

      His new assignment promises to be no day at the beach. Woods' taxpayers have been complaining for years about inflated assessments - a similar situation to the one that led him to resign in the middle of tax season in St. Clair Shores.

       In the Woods, his primary part-time assistant assessor also serves as the Water Department clerk.

       If you're planning on sending him a congratulatory giift to welcome him to Grosse Pointe Woods politics, I'd suggest a Kevlar helmet and a flak vest.

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