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Appraisal district OKs Hays retirement account change

By Glenn Evans
Jan. 10, 2017 at 11:15 p.m.

Tom HaysChief appraiser

A committee meets next week to work through applications for Gregg County's next chief property appraiser, but trustees scuffled a bit Tuesday over Chief Appraiser Tom Hays' retirement fund logistics.

The Gregg County Appraisal Board was in agreement that Hays' retirement account should be released to his financial planner now, as Hays prepares for a May 1 retirement. They just didn't know that took board action when Chairman David McWhorter approved of the move in December.

That didn't sit well with Trustee Jim Cerrato.

"I kind of have a problem with this," he said to McWhorter during Tuesday's monthly meeting. "You've already done it, but we haven't talked about it."

A Pine Tree ISD trustee, Cerrato pointed to the one-page resolution affirming the Dec. 5 action that Hays said required board action.

"All I have is this piece of paper saying we approved the change," Cerrato said. "I'd be furious if a superintendent did this."

The change freeing up Hays' account passed 3-1 with Cerrato dissenting.

Cerrato and fellow trust-ees Julie Woods and A.P. Merritt comprise a subcommittee searching for Hays' successor. The chief appraiser hires the staff who set values on homes and other taxable property.

Cerrato announced Tuesday that panel will meet sometime next week to begin culling resumes.

Three candidates have submitted applications, all from Texas, but Hays and committee members declined to further identify the applicants.

"Our goal is to have this successor in place in April, so there is some transition time," Cerrato said.

Woods added that the full board will conduct applicant interviews.

"We are confident that we're going to find someone as good as Mr. Hays," she said.

The board on Tuesday also named three men to the appraisal district's agriculture advisory board. The panel helps appraisers better understand ag and timber issues to help ensure more accurate appraisals.

"They don't make any decisions on valuations," Hays added.

Ken Miller and Mark Hampton were named as new members of that panel, joining Tommy Truitt who joined in 2015.

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