Town of Hounsfield Assessor to Retire After 47 Years

October 1, 2013

by Timothy W. Scee II
Special to

After assessing thousands of properties for nearly half a century, the town of Hounsfield is preparing to say goodbye to a man community members say was dedicated to a “thankless job.”

Friends, family and town officials gathered Wednesday at the town barn, 18774 County Route 66, to celebrate the retirement of Jean C. Rogers, 77, who will leave his post Sept. 30., after 47 years.

David W. Anderson, who served as one of the town’s three elected assessors in the 1960s before the position changed to a single appointment about 25 years ago, said Mr. Rogers always faced his expected challenges as an assessor with professionalism and courtesy no matter how upset a resident may have been about an assessment.

“He knows everybody, the whole town, the old people and the young people,” Mr. Anderson said. “He’s been here a long time so I hope he enjoys his retirement.”

Long before he graduated in 1954 from Hounsfield Central School, now known as Sackets Harbor Central School, Mr. Rogers worked on his family’s dairy farm at 16210 Route 3 and eventually bought the property from his parents and took over operations with his wife, Sherry R.

One afternoon in 1966, then-council member Otis Lonsdale pulled his car into Mr. Roger’s front yard.

“He said, ‘We need somebody to replace (former town assessor) George Perry, will you do it’?” Mr. Rogers said.  “I said ‘Sure’.”

Mrs. Rogers, who often assisted with her husband’s bookkeeping, said responsibilities increased once the town stopped electing three assessors in the late 1980s.

“It’s always challenging because, now, it’s your decision,” she said.  “But, it was easier because you can account for your own actions and not anybody else’s.”

Carson D. Lennox, who has lived in the town for 56 years, said he believes Mr. Roger’s lifelong dedication to agriculture established a work ethic that was admired by town officials and residents.

“Jean is the epitome of hard work from sun up to sun down because he was a farmer,” Mr. Lennox said.  “He’s just a hardworking, dedicated, loyal person.” 

In retirement, Mrs. Rogers said she and her husband plan to travel the east coast to visit two of the couple’s grandchildren who live in North Carolina.

“It is kind of like your coming to what is going on at the end of your life,” Mrs. Rogers said.  “But at the same time, it will be nice for him to take it easy and not have all those responsibilities.”

When asked what the most challenging aspect of his nearly half-century career as an assessor was, Mr. Rogers jokingly replied, “Answering the telephone.”

Councilman Stephen H. Lee, who is the town’s longest serving council member, said he believes Mr. Rogers will leave behind a positive legacy as an assessor.

“It’s been real good to work with him and anytime we’ve needed anything, he’s right there,” Mr. Lee said.  “After 47 years of being the assessor he has a whole room of friends here so not everybody must have been upset with their assessments.”

At a special meeting June 24, town board members chose Henderson Assessor James G. Rounds to fill the vacancy left by Mr. Rogers.  Mr. Rounds will assume the role Oct. 1.

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