TAD appoints Durham as interim chief appraiser

William Durham, a longtime employee of the Tarrant Appraisal District, has been appointed interim chief appraiser. He replaces Jeff Law, the embattled former chief appraiser who departed the agency Sept. 6.

Law submitted his resignation to the board on Sept. 1, following an Aug. 29 “no confidence” vote by the Tarrant County Commissioners Court, which recommended that the TAD board fire him. Law was hired as chief appraiser of Hood County’s Central Appraisal District the day after he left TAD.

Durham has been a TAD employee for 35 years and most recently served as director of commercial appraisal. He previously served as litigation manager.

Durham’s qualifications include Residential Accredited Appraiser, National Association of Realtors; State Residential Appraiser; and Registered Professional Appraiser, Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation. As a member of the Appraisal Institute, he has participated in continuing education to stay current on legislative requirements and trends.

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The interim chief appraiser “will bring institutional knowledge needed to steer the ship while the board seeks a permanent chief appraiser,” TAD board chairman Tony Pompa said in a statement.

Durham was named to the interim position during a special meeting of the district board on Monday (Sept. 18). Members also discussed the search for a permanent chief appraiser as well as concerns about TAD’s information systems. The board has hired an outside firm to assist with the search for a permanent replacement for Law. Plans for the search will be finalized within a few weeks, officials said.

Every county has an appraisal district that has the responsibility of determining values for residential and commercial property. But unlike other county appraisal districts, TAD has a prolonged history of technology problems.

The introduction of a new website earlier this year was the latest technology blunder that led to widespread complaints from taxpayers who were unable to protest their proposed tax valuations through an online portal that had been available in the past for taxpayers to reach a settlement without an in-person hearing.

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Cal Wood, TAD’s director of information, was fired last month following an investigation of a whistleblower recording about the website protest problems. In the recording, Wood could be heard telling staffers that it was “okay with creating a false narrative that distances the truth from the media.”

Publicity surrounding Wood’s comments led to a rebuke from the mayors of Keller, Southlake and Colleyville indicating that they would consider a resolution seeking a “vote of no confidence” against Law.

“Taxpayers have lost trust in the Tarrant Appraisal District and it is time for the TAD Board of Directors to appoint a new chief appraiser,” the letter stated. “The latest headline coming out of the Tarrant Appraisal District, where one of TAD’s top-level executive(s) suggests ‘creating a false narrative that distances the truth from the media’ is both outrageous and a breach of the public’s trust,” stated the letter posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.