Kevin Ohme wants to become Chelan County Assessor.
NCW: Why are you running for assessor?
Kevin Ohme: I worked in the Chelan County Assessor Department for more than nine years. It was the greatest challenge of my working life. I saw deep problems in the department I worked diligently for many years to correct these problems in order to deliver the taxpayers fair and accurate taxation. In the end I felt ethically challenged in continuing to participate within the departmental status quo. I want to return to my work in a position in which I can work to correct some of the core deficits in the operation of the department
NCW: You are placing importance on fairness and accuracy. Have these two criteria been absent in the current administration?
Ohme: Yes. Not totally absent but absent to a degree I found unacceptable. However, the current administration is not responsible for much of the inaccuracy. Based on the degree of inaccuracy I dealt with as I inspected taxpayer properties, I believe that the current administration could focus more acutely in some respects.
I must emphasize that fairness and accuracy are synonymous in county assessment Accuracy at every level of the process is required. Based on the degree of inaccuracy I dealt with as I inspected taxpayer properties, I believe that the current administration lacks the depth of experience, skills, will, and inspiration to fix this giant mess in a timely fashion.
NCW: What do you mean by more or better accuracy?
Ohme: This is a five-page question! I will narrow my response to one example, which lies at the very foundation of most taxpayer bills. The measurement of structures is where the numbers begin.
The most basic and essential tools for an appraiser arriving at a taxpayer property are drawings based in measurements of structures. If drawings are not present on the field computer the appraiser must make a difficult choice. Either accept a number on the computer, e.g., 3,625 square feet and estimate by eye that it may be correct or remeasure and draw the structure into the computer so that the next appraiser in the future will be able to verify accuracy quickly and efficiently.
A Chelan county appraiser must inspect 1500 to 2000 properties in 8 months. Sketching a structure takes from 15 minutes to one hour or more. In Chelan county, much of the time, due to nonavailability of accurate drawings on the field computer and the deadline to have such a large number of inspections completed, an educated "Hail Mary" is committed, the simple number, e.g., 3,625 square feet is "trusted" and the inspection is marked as complete. This most basic source of inaccuracy must be remedied.
NCW: Is software or human failure to blame if valuations are incorrect?
Ohme: Software issues are usually found quickly and corrected. A human choice of software and hardware which is inappropriate to the task may result in the persistence of existing errors.
Also, definition of the parameters of input the lack of input and a lack of diligence in the creation of input by humans may be the source of persistent inaccuracies in assessment for the foreseeable future.
NCW: Tell the readers about your goals or platform for your campaign.
Ohme: With this interview I have defined my platform at last I have deep experience in the department. I will not shrink from the implications of discussing my experience. I will not avoid attempting to discuss complex and detailed issues in the name of political expediency. The lawful duty of the assessor is well defined.
My goal is to work at the foundation of assessments, as described in previous answers in this interview. If elected I will begin a focused long-term project to bring tax assessment in Chelan county into line with current standards as exhibited in the work of other counties in the State of Washington. Four years will be sufficient to forge this path.
NCW: Tell the readers about your experience in government:
Ohme: A quote by Bob Woodward recently caught my ear: "All good work is done in defiance of management" I would temper that quote by saying that much good work is done in spite of management. Good people have worked very hard to form ideals into laws designed to create a framework which empowers we the people to form institutions which manifest these ideals.
The expression of these ideals is, or should be, in constant evolution. I have seen government employees have the idealism crushed out of them by complacency within our institutions. It becomes easy to dismiss the idealism within the spirit of our laws and go along with the status quo in order to preserve a livelihood. It can become too easy to forget that we government workers are being payed by our neighbors and families ... and ourselves.
Caption: Kevin Ohme
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|Publication:||Wenatchee Business Journal|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2018|
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