People Express Concerns With Interim Tax Assessor Appointment at County Meeting 1/13/14
CBS 7 News
January 13, 2014
MIDLAND-The race to fill Midland County's Tax Assessor position is heating up after a decision by county commissioners draws people to speak out at this morning's meeting.
The County Commissioners chose former tax office employee Karen Hood to fill the interim position, passing over opponent Manny Natividad for the spot. Voters had some pretty tough questions today at the Midland County Commissioners Court about the appointment.
When Kathy Reeves stepped down as tax assessor to run for county judge, it was thought Deputy Chief Manny Natividad would be interim if not reeves herself.
“It just seems like a natural progression to choose a neutral party till the election,” said one voter to the Commissioners Court. “You don’t have anything to say?” The crowd then applauded.
But despite having discussed Natividad as an option in open court, the commissioners voted against Reeves--instead opting to place former employee Karen Hood in the spot. Commissioner Sanchez voted against.
"Why was it not discussed in open court and just what are her qualifications?" asked one citizen.
"Her experience and time at the tax office, she was an Assistant Deputy Collector,” said Midland County Commissioner Robin Donnelly.
Sanchez said he was not aware of Hood’s qualifications at the time of the vote.
"I never saw a resume for her, I personally didn’t,” Midland County Commissioner Luis Sanchez said.
Shortly after taking over, Hood fired opponent Manny Natividad -- saying he did not show up for work. Natividad said he had previously-approved time off that Hood refused to honor. 30-year employee Terry Burge said she resigned because of Hood's appointment and the turmoil.
“If I had stayed, I do have to do my job and that would be doing the things she doesn’t know how to do,” Burge said. “It would also be telling the Commissioners that I agree with their decision, which I do not.”
At least one local leader says the appointment could be politically motivated because of Kathy Reeves’ run against sitting County Judge Mike Bradford, who abstained from the vote.
"It looks like you guys are mad that Kathy Reeves is running and now the tax assessor’s office is paying,” said CEO of Midland Hispanic Chamber Rachel Stone to this morning’s open court meeting. “It’s a political thing, definitely a political thing.”
No action was taken at today's meeting; The Commissioners Court says it will be up to voters to decide in the March primary election.