Don Ross, a veteran of the town's Assessor's office, will serve as acting assessor when Thomas Browne Jr. retires at the end of this month.

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to appoint Ross, currently the deputy assessor, at its meeting Wednesday.

"I grew up in Fairfield," Ross said. "This is an opportunity for me to give to the town that has given me so much."

He said he plans to carry out his new responsibilities in the same effective manner as his predecessor, Browne.

Human Resources Director Mary Carroll-Mirylees said that while it was not necessary for the selectmen to formally appoint an acting assessor, officials decided that would be in the town's best interest, particularly with many lawsuits pending over the recent property revaluation.

Ross, who started working in the Assessor's office in 1975, will serve as acting assessor until a successor is named or up to six months, she said.

"Don's been there a really long time," said Selectman Sherri Steeneck, adding that every time she has been in that office, she found him to be very helpful.

"I've had a chance to talk to Don a number of times," interim First Selectman Michael Tetreau said. "He is informed and extremely professional" and is expected to effectively oversee the town's interests in the assessment-appeals process.