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Council / Valuation joint board to welcome new assessor for the second time since beginning of last year

From left to right: Board convener Stephen Leask, new chief assessor Robert Eunson, depute convener Dr Stephen Clackson.

THE ORKNEY and Shetland Valuation Joint Board (VJB) is preparing to welcome a new tax assessor and electoral registration officer – the third person to hold the role since the beginning of 2022.

Robert Eunson, who has been depute assessor, is preparing to replace Darryl Rae in the role.

The board, which is made up of councillors from both isles local authorities but remains a separate body, met in Orkney on Thursday.

It looks after the valuation roll and the council tax valuation lists for the two council areas. It is also responsible for the maintenance of the register of electors.

But the VJB’s tax assessor role has been a point of contention in recent years.

Actions taken by the board’s previous leadership team, intending to ensure the board continued to have an assessor, were deemed ‘unlawful’ by auditors.

The assessor at that time, Dennis Stevenson, had been planning to retire and the board had faced significant challenges in finding someone else to take up the role.

As such, Stevenson’s pay rose without proper scrutiny given to the decision.

Rae took up the role around this time last year. 

Yesterday tributes were paid to the outgoing assessor, by the VJB convener Shetland councillor Stephen Leask.

He said: “With the imminent departure of Mr Rae, I would like to thank you for all the help.

“I’m sure I speak on behalf of all the board members and your colleagues when I say you were a breath of fresh air for us here.

“We really appreciate all the hard work you did for us, especially at this particular time. It really was hard work.”

Addressing Eunson, Leask added: “I would like to say, with great pleasure, that we have Mr Robert Eunson as the new chief assessor.

“We look forward to working with you in the future. We really are very pleased to have you on board.”

An Orkney council spokeswoman said Rae is leaving to be closer to his home area in Scotland’s Central Belt.

By Orkney local democracy reporter Andrew Stewart

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