Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hire Professional Managers to be Chief and Deputy Chief Assessors (Top-School MBAs Could be the Forward-looking Answer)

The age old practice of grooming chief and deputy chief assessors from within the system or drawing from the competition is a failed concept. Since these positions require exceptional leadership skill and vision, home-grown smart assessors with high level of technical assessing skills alone do not cut it anymore. 
It is high time that the municipalities, particularly the Assessing agencies and the rest of the Finance/Tax vertical, should take and coin examples from corporate America in choosing their top-line leaders.The reason the top-school MBAs go on to become successful CEOs of major corporations is that they are specially trained to be professional managers and leaders irrespective of the type of business or industry. 
Now that the corporate CEOs are hired from around the world, the increased competition would force many top-school MBAs to consider careers in local governments. Therefore, those jobs, especially the ones from the larger jurisdictions, should also be advertised in national newspapers and WSJ, highlighting the challenge and the reward. Even if a small percentage of those MBAs are amenable, it is going to be a win-win situation for the taxpayers.

The technical interview to hire a Chief or Deputy Chief must not be internalized, which would simply promote more politics and favoritism; it should be conducted by a group of local CEOs, renowned professors and other industry leaders.

I am however aware that the vast majority of jurisdictions have statutory qualifications for at least the Chief Assessor so some legislative changes might be required. Since property assessing is being totally reinvented, those backward-bending qualifications and requirements would be scrapped – just a matter of time!
Meanwhile, consider only the smart assessors with MBAs, from within (the agency or the industry at large) to lead from the front. The old way hardly returns any value to the taxpayers – only promotes status quo, at best.

Note - Reprinted from my recent book 'Bailing out the Dysfunctional US Property Tax System.' Now available on Kindle on Amazon (search 'Sid Som').

Sid Som
Homequant, Inc.

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