A Great Bad Idea

David Lucas has a great idea. I think this law would be a good idea, if only based on personal experience [Ed’s Note:Having now read the legislation, my personal experience is not addressed in the law and the law is clearly vendetta legislation, but not good public policy]. Having appraisers for the county also running for office creates all sorts of problems.

Five Middle Georgia state legislators have signed on to a bill proposed by Macon’s Rep. David Lucas that would restrict tax assessors in any Georgia county from simultaneously serving in other elected or appointed positions.

Democrats Nikki Randall of Macon, Robert Ray of Fort Valley and DuBose Porter of Dublin joined Republicans David Graves and Allen Freeman, both of Macon, in supporting House Bill 1081. That bill would prohibit a person who has served on a board of assessors from being hired as the county’s chief appraiser for a period of 12 months after they have left the board.

The bill also prevents a chief appraiser and all county property appraisal staff from sitting on the board of assessors. In addition, it bars county assessors from running for elected offices at the state, county and municipal level.

I’ve received a lot of phone calls about this post and some serious explanations. It appears that the law is based on sour grapes more than anything. Having now read the actual legislation instead of relying on the Telegraph, I agree.

Here’s the thing everyone points out — the Chief Appraiser needs to be sitting on the board and weighing in on the matter. Likewise, a lot of rural counties are short handed and can’t pay a lot of money.

What the bill should do, and what I thought it did, but it does not, is bar appraisers from running for office in positions where they can set the millage rate, while maintaining their job as an appraiser. It does not do that.

Here’s an example: Appraiser A works for the Board of Assessors. Appraiser A also is an elected county official. Appraiser A sets the value of his constituents’ and supporters’ houses lower than others. This bill would not prevent that. What it does is settle a vendetta.

Here in Bibb County, the Chief Appriser was fired. He was black. The white people on the Board of Assessors did it. He claimed it was racial discrimination. The Board put Bob Gerhardt in his place. Bob had sat on the board. Bob also happens to be one hell of an appraiser and competent manager — my law firm has used him a lot over the years for appraisal disputes. He’s good.

So, a group of people in town who readily buy into discrimination charges, have taken up this case and are now seeking to pass broad laws to retaliate against one act.

We should not encourage vendetta legislation and we should not adopt this law.

Go here. Call your state senator or state representative and tell him or her that vendetta legislation is bad policy and this bill should die.

2 comments

  1. macongop says:

    I can believe they came up with this. It only slapped them in the face with what is going on here in Macon with one of our elected city council members being a tax assessor for the county. Maybe this session is actually getting some work done up in Atlanta.

  2. MountainThinker says:

    I’m a Reagan Conservative Republican, and I strongly disagree with your overall view. Regardless of the circumstances that parcipitated this bill in Rep. Lucas’s mind, I have had the same non-racially concerned issues in rural North GA. My county is a Sole Commissioner county where the entire Appraiser Staff sits as the Board and hires themselves. Therefore if the Appraisers make a mistake, you appeal them to themselves, wearing their new name tags as the Board of Assessors. This law is necessary and appropriate for much of GA. If the circumstances that pushed Rep. Lucas to author this bill are less than desired, so be it. It is good law, and I hope you and those that read this will consider writing your representatives to ask them to support it.

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