Greenfield residents, officials call for embattled assessors chair’s resignation

  • STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

  • JOE RUGGERI

Staff Writer
Published: 12/6/2022 8:13:20 PM
Modified: 12/6/2022 8:12:58 PM

GREENFIELD — Numerous residents, including three city councilors and a member of the School Committee, called for Board of Assessors Chair Joe Ruggeri to resign during the board’s public comment period on Tuesday.

Many complaints were sparked by the recent discovery of an illegal third apartment at the two-family apartment building that Ruggeri owns at 13 to 15 Riddell St. After receiving a complaint about a leak from a tenant on the second floor, Health Inspector Nicole Glabach discovered that a shower in an illegal third-floor apartment — a space that is supposed to be used for storage — had been causing the leak.

After the initial complaints, Health Director Jennifer Hoffman said she visited the residence on Monday, where she found the third-floor tenant actively moving out. Ruggeri, a local real estate agent, also previously told the Greenfield Recorder that he submitted a permit application to remove the plumbing required to correct the situation.

“The owner of the apartments said they are not going to have three apartments anymore,” Hoffman said at Tuesday’s Board of Assessors meeting. “We will follow up to see if that is true.”

Speaking by phone, Ruggeri said that his friend and former tenant had been living in the apartment temporarily, and has been moved to a safe living situation.

There were also concerns raised about work without a permit at Ruggeri’s property at 163 Chapman St. Speaking during a November City Council meeting, resident Ryan Whitney told councilors that he had recently witnessed building materials being brought into the house, which didn’t appear to have a building permit. He said he notified City Council and then Building Inspector Mark Snow.

Ruggeri previously told the Recorder that an application had been submitted and paid for at a cost of $340.

Precinct 3 City Councilor Virginia “Ginny” DeSorgher called the illegal apartment a “disturbing incident,” and said it was “not a mistake or an isolated incident.”

School Committee member Jean Wall agreed with the sentiment of the rest of the meeting attendees at City Hall on Tuesday, saying that Ruggeri neglects the permit process.

“The time has arrived for you to voluntarily resign,” Wall said. “The citizens of Greenfield deserve a Board of Assessors that think following the law is important.”

In response, Ruggeri said the comments made at Tuesday’s meeting are not 100% accurate. When asked if he is considering resigning, he said, “I am going to give it some serious thought.”

Some attendees, including resident Jackie Thibodeau, said that Ruggeri uses the privilege of his position on the Board of Assessors to benefit himself and that he should resign.

Ruggeri said he has served as an assessor and other positions for more than 10 years.

“I put my time in with this city,” Ruggeri said. “I love this community.”

Bella Levavi can be reached at blevavi@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.


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